Trends in Behaviour

The Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH), based at the University of New South Wales, conducts research into the social and behavioural aspects of HIV, particularly relating to sexual practices, but also regarding injecting and illicit drug use, and issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

CSRH reports on behavioural and attitudinal data related to the transmission of HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmissible infections in Australia in the Annual Report on Trends in Behaviour.

The report includes current information on sexual practice and partnerships among gay-identified men and other men who have sex with men, collected predominantly through the ongoing Gay Community Periodic surveys which are conducted in six Australian states and territories.

Key findings from the 2015 report:

  • The use of antiretroviral treatments by HIV-positive gay men is at a record high, with 83.5% on treatment, up from 60.3% in 2005
  • The proportion of HIV-positive gay men reporting undetectable viral load has increased to 76.7% from 51.2% in 2005
  • The number of gay men engaging in unprotected anal sex with casual partners was also at a record high (39%) in 2014
  • Increased willingness to use PrEP among HIV-negative and untested men (from 23% in 2013 to 32% in 2015)
  • Increased rates of serostatus disclosure among both HIV-negative and positive gay men.

Although rates of condomless sex have increased, the number of new HIV infections each the year remains stable, suggesting that the higher proportion of people on treatments is preventing new transmissions.