Western Sydney Local Health District joins fight to end HIV

02 Dec 2014

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) supported hundreds of World AIDS Day events worldwide to promote awareness of HIV testing.

Senior staff specialist, Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre Dr Catriona Ooi said the World AIDS Day theme for NSW is Ending HIV which focusses on the key areas of Testing More, Treating Early and Prevention.

"Preventing HIV is still as important as ever, with about 10,500 people in NSW living with diagnosed HIV infection," she said.

"About 10 per cent of people with HIV in NSW may be unaware they are infected and we are committed to changing this statistic.

"To end HIV, more people need to get tested more often, so the earlier people know their status, the better their outlook," Dr Ooi said.

The new era in HIV testing in NSW includes express clinics, rapid HIV testing, after hours and drop-in clinics, online appointment bookings, tests at general practice (GP) clinics, and faster and easier ways to get HIV test results.

The most effective way for people to protect themselves and their partners, and to reduce the spread of HIV, is to use condoms with sex partners and have regular HIV and STI tests.

HIV can affect people of all ages, genders, races and cultures, and in addition to gay men, heterosexual people at risk of HIV should be tested.

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"People from countries with high rates of HIV, or those who have had unprotected sex with a person at high risk of HIV, are especially encouraged to get tested," said Dr Ooi.

"Increasing HIV testing rates is vital, as many people who have not been tested recently do not know they are HIV positive and are possibly transmitting HIV to others.

"Through the remarkable advances in testing and treatment and continued promotion of safe behaviour, we now have the means to achieve the goal of ending HIV," Dr Ooi said.

For more information about the disease visit http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/endinghiv or call the NSW Sexual Health Infoline on 1800 451 624.

HIV testing is available from GPs.

About World AIDS Day: World AIDS Day, held annually on December 1, is a day to raise awareness about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have lost their lives to the disease.

 

World AIDS Day, held annually on December 1, is a day to raise awareness about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have lost their lives to the disease.

Over 20 years ago, a small group of New York artists created a simple design which is now one of the most recognised symbols worldwide – the red ribbon.

The World AIDS Day red ribbon is now worn to show support and solidarity for the millions of people living with HIV and AIDS.

For information on World AIDS Day visit: www.worldaidsday.org.au