Characterizing trends in HIV infection among MSM in Australia by birth cohorts: results from a modified back-projection method

Published: January 1, 2009

Characterizing trends in HIV infection among men who have sex with men in Australia by birth cohorts: results from a modified back-projection method

Abstract

Background

We set out to estimate historical trends in HIV incidence in Australian men who have sex with men with respect to age at infection and birth cohort.

Methods

A modified back-projection technique is applied to data from the HIV/AIDS Surveillance System in Australia, including "newly diagnosed HIV infections", "newly acquired HIV infections" and "AIDS diagnoses", to estimate trends in HIV incidence over both calendar time and age at infection.

Results

Our results demonstrate that since 2000, there has been an increase in new HIV infections in Australian men who have sex with men across all age groups. The estimated mean age at infection increased from ~35 years in 2000 to ~37 years in 2007. When the epidemic peaked in the mid 1980s, the majority of the infections (56%) occurred among men aged 30 years and younger; 30% occurred in ages 31 to 40 years; and only ~14% of them were attributed to the group who were older than 40 years of age. In 2007, the proportion of infections occurring in persons 40 years or older doubled to 31% compared to the mid 1980s, while the proportion of infections attributed to the group younger than 30 years of age decreased to 36%.

Conclusion

The distribution of HIV incidence for birth cohorts by infection year suggests that the HIV epidemic continues to affect older homosexual men as much as, if not more than, younger men. The results are useful for evaluating the impact of the epidemic across successive birth cohorts and study trends among the age groups most at risk.

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