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Rapidly ageing HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men in Australia

John M. Murray A B C , Ann M. McDonald B and Matthew G. Law B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Level 2, 376 Victoria Street, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 6(1) 83-86
Submitted: 12 August 2008  Accepted: 15 January 2009   Published: 23 February 2009


Background: Antiretroviral therapy has increased survival for individuals living with HIV and has led to an ageing of this population in developed countries. To date the rate of ageing has been unquantified, giving rise to uncertainty in the treatment emphasis and burden in this population. Methods: A mathematical model was used in conjunction with HIV/AIDS data from the Australian National HIV/AIDS Registry to estimate numbers and ages of Australian men who have sex with men (MSM) living with HIV infection from 1980 to 2005. Results: The average age of HIV-infected Australian MSM is estimated to exceed 44 years of age by the year 2010 and has increased by 1 year of age for each two calendar years since the mid-1980s. HIV-infected MSM over 60 years of age have been increasing in number by 12% per year since 1995. A consequence of successful therapy with subsequent ageing of those infected has meant that from 2001 estimated deaths from other causes exceed AIDS deaths in Australia. Conclusions: In summary, our analyses indicate an increasing and rapidly ageing population living with HIV in Australia. This will inevitably lead to more serious non-AIDS conditions in ageing patients living with HIV, and to increased treatment complexity.

Additional keywords: HIV/AIDS, antiretroviral therapy, mortality.


We thank B. Donovan and D. Wilson for valuable comments. The National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, and is affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine, The University of New South Wales. Its work is overseen by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, Sexual Health and Hepatitis. The NCHECR Surveillance Program is a collaborating unit of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.


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