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HIV diagnosed in Victoria among new migrants

HIV diagnosed in Victoria among new migrants

As a proportion of the Victorian migrant population, Asian men and Sub-Saharan African women are disproportionately represented among notifications of newly diagnosed HIV in Victoria. This presents a variety of considerations for service provision including cultural barriers to health promotion, testing and treatment, especially for recent arrivals.

We described new Victorian HIV diagnoses made between 2007 and 2012 by region of birth, time since arrival and exposure to HIV. New HIV diagnoses refers to cases whose first ever HIV diagnosis was in Victoria. Country of birth was missing for three per cent of records. Recently arrived migrants were defined as those born overseas and arrived in Victoria <5 years prior to HIV diagnosis.
Of the 1507 HIV notifications with country of birth recorded, 32% were born overseas (n=490). For 19% (n=92), year of arrival was missing; the median number of years between arrival and HIV diagnosis was four years and 54% were classified as recently arrived migrants (n=213). Of the 213 recently arrived migrants, 100 (47%) reported male-to-male sex as their exposure to HIV (MSM), of which 53% were aged 20-29 years and 35% aged 30-39 years. More than half (53%) of recently arrived MSM were from SE Asia, China and India and two-thirds (65%) acquired their infection in Victoria. Sixty-one (29%) recently arrived migrants were from high HIV prevalent countries, 92% were from Africa (n=56); 90% acquired their infection overseas (n=55) and 66% were women (n=40).
These results highlight the potential vulnerability of young Asian men to HIV infection on arrival to study or work in Victoria. In addition to maintaining a focus on the health and wellbeing of migrant African women, these data suggest a need to also focus on HIV prevention and care among young MSM Asian migrants.

Speakers: Carol El-Hayek

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