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Sex Health. 2014 Mar;11(1):17-23. doi: 10.1071/SH13151.

HIV service capacity: identifying current and future areas of clinical shortage.

Author information

  • 1The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
  • 2The Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia.


Background The capacity of HIV services to meet the clinical needs of people living with HIV (PLHIV) has not been evaluated. Similarly, whether HIV services are positioned to respond to increases in patient demand outside metropolitan centres over the next decade is unknown.


A novel statistical methodology was used to estimate HIV clinical service capacity in Australia. A survey of HIV services was conducted. Geostatistical analysis was used to identify significant regions of clinical service undersupply relative to the estimated number of PLHIV in 2010 and 2020.


In 2010, an estimated 2074 PLHIV (9.7% of all PLHIV) resided in regions more than 15km from a clinical service provider; 485 PLHIV (2.3% of all PLHIV) live >50km away. By 2020, this is estimated to rise to 3419 and 807 (11.5% and 2.7% of estimated PLHIV) for 15km and 50km, respectively. To meet this demand, the establishment of new HIV services are required in the areas of greatest HIV clinical undersupply. In 2010, these are northern Sydney and western New South Wales, the Queensland mid-north coast and the outer suburbs of Melbourne. At the current estimated rate of increase in PLHIV, areas that will become critically undersupplied by 2020 include south-west Sydney, the outer suburbs of Brisbane and Western Australia.


This study provides a quantitative assessment using modern statistical techniques to identify HIV clinical service gaps that is applicable in developed and nondeveloped settings. Training of new HIV clinicians should be directed towards undersupplied areas.

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