MELBOURNE, Australia — It took universal health care, political will and a health campaign designed to terrify the public, but nearly four decades into the H.I.V. crisis, Australian researchers say the country is on a path toward making transmissions of the virus vanishingly rare.

The fight is not yet won, the experts caution, and the last stretch of disease eradication efforts is often the toughest. But in the past five years, the number of new infections with the virus has dropped by almost a quarter in Australia, with higher declines among gay and bisexual men, according to a report released last week by the Kirby Institute, an infectious disease research center in the state of New South Wales.

In 2018, just 835 H.I.V. diagnoses were recorded nationally. At their peak, in 1987, there were 2,412.

The most recent advance in Australia’s battle against the virus, which is seen as a model around the world, is the rapid adoption of a drug regimen known as PrEP. Under the regimen, patients typically take a daily pill, which — even without the use of condoms — is close to 100 percent effective at preventing contraction of H.I.V., experts say.

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