Background: To describe the changes in notification rates for HIV, as a proportion of people living with HIV infection, in Australia. Methods: Notification data on HIV and AIDS-related deaths published by the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research were obtained and analysed for the period of 1988?2004. Results: The annual HIV notification rate per 100 people living with HIV fell significantly between 1988 and 1999 for all HIV cases and for men who have sex with men (MSM) specifically (P < 0.01). However, although there was an increase in HIV notifications between 2000 and 2004 (P = 0.01 for all HIV cases and P = 0.06 for MSM), the notification rate per 100 people living with HIV remained relatively stable (P = 0.6 for all HIV cases and P = 0.4 for MSM). Conclusions: These data suggest that despite significant rises in notifications for HIV, the effective reproductive rate for HIV has remained relatively stable since 1999.