Australia Brings New HIV Infections to Near Zero

August 24, 2023 13:07:36

Central districts in the Australian city of Sydney may soon break HIV infection records by becoming the first places in the world to achieve the United Nation’s target for eliminating HIV transmission. Researchers note that several Sydney districts are close to hitting UN targets for HIV infection, putting the country on track to achieving a 90% drop in new HIV cases by 2030.

Several decades ago Sydney was in the grip of an HIV pandemic that took thousands of gay men’s lives between the 1980s and 1990s. Between 2010–2022, however, new cases among gay men in the city went down by a whopping 88% as antiretroviral drug use reached historic highs.

At the moment, almost every Australian with HIV is on antiretroviral drugs, suppressing HIV virus levels in their blood and significantly reducing their risk of transmitting the virus. HIV-negative Australians are also taking up pre-exposure prophylaxis at increased rates, which lowers their risk of contracting the virus even further.

All these factors compounded to bring new HIV cases in Sydney down by 88%, just 2% shy of the UN’s goal of cutting HIV transmission by the end of the decade.

Gay men were the primary victims of Sydney’s HIV pandemic and accounted for most of the HIV cases in the city. Because they account for close to 20% of inner Sydney’s male population, high rates of HIV infection among gay men pulled the city’s overall numbers up.

University of New South Wales epidemiologist Andrew Gulich says he has seen a concrete change in Sydney’s HIV rates over the course of his academic career. Speaking during the International AIDs Society’s HIV science conference, Gulich said that he has seen Australia conquer the HIV pandemic over the past few decades.

However, these reductions in HIV infection numbers seem to be concentrated in the inner regions of Sydney. Infection rates have fallen by just a third in some outer suburbs where there is limited access to public health awareness, testing facilities and medical treatments such as antiretroviral drugs.

For people with limited access to health information and proper medication, HIV can cause significant reductions in quality of life and will likely progress to AIDS.

Australian researchers also presented evidence from a novel study that pointed to a potential cure for HIV. Led by Emory Microbiology and Genetics Program PhD candidate Monica Reece, the study explored the possibility of using Jak inhibitors to deplete the viral reservoir in HIV-positive people.

As companies such as Renovaro BioSciences Inc. (NASDAQ: RENB) take their immunotherapies through the clinical-development procedures, many other communities ravaged by HIV could have an additional tool in their arsenal to roll back the infection rates of this condition and possibly eradicate it from the globe.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Renovaro BioSciences Inc. (NASDAQ: RENB) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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