AIDS epidemic ‘over’ in Australia: Scientists
Australia’s top scientists and health experts have declared that AIDS is no longer a public health issue in the country. The number of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) cases diagnosed now is so low that researchers from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute and New South Wales’ Kirby Institute, have announced that the syndrome in Australia is now “over”, Xinhua news agency reported.
AIDS cases in Australia have dropped significantly since the introduction of anti-retroviral medications in the mid-1990s, which stops HIV from advancing to AIDS – where the immune system is so badly damaged that it cannot fight off the infection. The infection is contracted when a person has bodily fluids (usually through unprotected sex or by sharing needles/syringes) passed into their bloodstream. At the peak of the epidemic through the 1980s and 1990s, AIDS killed about 1,000 people each year. Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute in Melbourne, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday that anti-retroviral drugs had been the key to the epidemic’s decline, allowing people with HIV to live a long and healthy life.