For the first time since the HIV/AIDS crisis began, 2019 saw more straight men in Western Australia diagnosed with HIV than their gay peers.
HIV diagnosis of men who have sex with other men was down by 51 percent this year. This is compared to the average over the prior five years, according to DNA Magazine. But for straight men, their rates were not so fortunate.
The rate of HIV diagnosis for straight men was 21 percent higher this year with 26 cases reported in the past 12 months. Most of those cases were attributed to middle-aged straight men who contracted the disease while vacationing in south-east Asia.
In order to tackle this issue of men contracting the disease while overseas, Western Australia’s Health Minister, Roger Cook launched the Going Somewhere? campaign. The campaign, which started on World AIDS Day earlier this week, is trying to educate at-risk men about the potential risks while traveling.
The campaign includes several marketing avenues such as posters in men’s bathrooms and electronic signs at airports. The messages warn of the need to use condoms and PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) when traveling (and just in general). The messages also urged the importance of getting tested regularly.
“Going Somewhere? is particularly aimed at men who travel to south-east Asia and who may not be aware of the risk of acquiring and spreading HIV, and other STIs, while on holiday. It reminds men to take precautions, use condoms and visit a GP or sexual health clinic for a check-up when they get home,” Cook said through a WA Health statement.
Sources: DNA Magazine