Doctors warn HIV cases on the rise
ONCE one of the most feared of all illnesses, a HIV/AIDS diagnosis initially meant a death sentence for the carrier.
In the past couple of decades, medical technology and the development of treatments have lessened the severity of the disease and, it seems, society's fear.
Infection rates in Queensland have skyrocketed in past years, prompting the need to return to the days of the "If it's not on, it's not on" campaign.
During 2005-2010, there were 47 reported new cases of HIV in the Darling Downs/West Moreton area.
Condamine Medical Centre's Dr Lynton Hudson said although he rarely saw cases of HIV, safe sex was the only way to prevent infection.
Dr Hudson conceded that as the illness became more treatable, people's concern subsided.
"We have incredibly effective drugs to treat (HIV) now and people feel more relaxed," he said.
Although HIV is a rarity in the Rose City, other STIs seem to be running rampant.
"We are seeing a lot of Chlamydia and I believe syphilis is also on the rise," Dr Hudson said.
"It is really about using condoms and staying safe from any infection."
While HIV/AIDS was a disease that predominantly affected gay males, it is becoming more common across all demographics.
But men are still more likely to contract the disease, accounting for about 85% of Queensland cases.
"It can affect anyone - heterosexual, homosexual, men and women," Dr Hudson said.
The most likely places for somebody to be infected with HIV in Queensland are Brisbane, Cairns and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.