HIV diagnoses in Australia have hit a five-year low, with a significant drop among homosexual and bisexual men, latest figures from a major study released on Monday said.
“The good news from the report is there’s been a seven per cent decline in HIV diagnoses in the past five years, with 953 diagnoses in 2017, which compares to over 1,000 in previous years,” Professor Rebecca Guy from the University of New South Wales said here
“What’s interesting this year is the decline has not been equal across all populations,” she said.
The figures involving heterosexuals have increased by 10 per cent in the last five years, Xinhua news agency reported. While those among indigenous population were also twice those of the non-indigenous ones.
The declines were attributed to higher coverage of HIV testing and treatment in the country — two important strategies, she added.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.
The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.
This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.
“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.
“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.
The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.
The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.
This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.