To describe the epidemiology of HIV in Victoria between 1997 and 2002 using HIV surveillance data.
All HIV diagnoses notified to the Victorian HIV Registry from 1997 to 2002 were described.
The average annual number of HIV notifications rose from 160 during 1997-99 to 216 during 2000-02, with the number of infections from men who have sex with men (MSM) increasing by 41%. Notifications from MSM acquired from casual or anonymous partners increased from 65 in 1997-99 to 92 in 2000-02. Infections attributable to heterosexual contact increased from an average number of 30 during 1997-99 to 46 during 2000-02, a 53% increase.
This rise in HIV notifications in Victoria threatens this State's progress in controlling the HIV epidemic.
The surveillance data demonstrate a need to implement effective, innovative and evidence-based programs for HIV prevention.