SYDNEY — Australia’s mining boom may be fuelling an alarming rise in HIV infections among cashed-up heterosexual outback miners and businessmen in resource-rich states who holiday in Asia, say researchers.
Rates of HIV infections in Australia have increased by almost 50 percent in the past eight years, according to a new national HIV-AIDS report released on Wednesday. In the year to December 2007, Australia had 27,331 cases of HIV infection and 10,230 cases of AIDS, said the report by the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research. “The annual number of new HIV diagnoses in Australia has steadily increased over the past eight years, from 718 cases in 1999 to 1,051 in 2007,” it said. Homosexual men still account for most new infections, but a large number of new infections are amongst heterosexual men in the country’s mining rich states of Western Australia and Queensland.