HIV in Australia

What is HIV? 

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that can cause AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).  

Learn more about HIV infection and AIDS, including how it is contracted, how to prevent HIV, and accessing telehealth services.  

If you are living with HIV, you can access support by visiting the website of your state or territory-based community organisation.   

About HIV in Australia 

In 2021, an estimated 29,460 people were living with HIV in Australia.  

Australia reached the important UNAIDS target of 90-90-90 in 2020. We are one of the few countries to do so. This means that in 2020: 

  • 91% of people living with HIV had received a diagnosis

  • Of those diagnosed, 91% were receiving antiretroviral treatment

  • Of those receiving this treatment, 97% had a suppressed viral load. 

History of Australia’s response 

Since the 1980s, community advocates have driven Australia’s response to HIV. This quickly positioned Australia as a world leader in fighting this epidemic.  

Both sides of politics worked together to respond to HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. This resulted in effective partnerships between people living with HIV and: 

  • their communities 

  • health care providers 

  • researchers 

  • governments.  

Such political agreement was unusual at the time and aided activities to reduce HIV transmission. These included: 

  • developing a national HIV/AIDS strategy

  • establishing needle and syringe programs

  • creating other public health campaigns 

  • setting up state and territory AIDS councils 

  • establishing organisations of people living with HIV. 

Community organisations governed and run by people living with HIV, AIDS councils and researchers around Australia have delivered local responses to HIV.  

Australia has a proud history of collaboration on the HIV response. This collaborative spirit continues in World AIDS Day events across the country.  

Last updated:
  • General information