health watch

More straight guys in Western Australia were diagnosed with HIV in 2019 than gay guys

For the first time since the HIV/AIDS crisis began, more straight identifying men in Western Australia tested positive for HIV in 2019 than their gay counterparts, according to DNA Magazine. 

HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with other men was down by 51 percent this year compared to the average over the previous five years. The news was less promising for straight identifying, who saw a 21 percent uptick in diagnoses.

Researchers attribute the spike in new infections to straight identifying men having unprotected sex while traveling in south-east Asia.

DNA Magazine reports:

On World AIDS Day the WA Health Minister, Roger Cook launched the Going Somewhere? campaign to target and educate at-risk men traveling overseas.

“Going Somewhere? is particularly aimed at men who travel to south-east Asia and who may not be aware of the risk of acquiring and spreading HIV, and other STIs, while on holiday. It reminds men to take precautions, use condoms and visit a GP or sexual health clinic for a check-up when they get home,” Cook said via a WA Health statement.

Posters for the campaign will be displayed in men’s restrooms at international airports, urging people to practice safe sex while traveling and to get tested if they are at risk.

The minister is also encouraging people to consider using PrEP or PEP, adding that he believes the falling HIV rates among gay men has to do with the community’s successful safe sex messaging.

Related: Gay men increasingly accept HIV undetectable = untransmittable

Correction: An earlier version of this headline was misleading. We have updated it.