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OBJECTIVES: To describe the epidemiology of HIV in Victoria between 1997 and 2002 using HIV surveillance data. METHODS: All HIV diagnoses notified to the Victorian HIV Registry from 1997 to 2002 were described. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: This rise in HIV notifications in Victoria threatens this State’s progress in controlling the HIV epidemic. IMPLICATIONS: The surveillance data demonstrate a need to implement effective, innovative and evidence-based programs for HIV prevention.