World AIDS Day 2015: Ending HIV - test often, treat early and prevent
01 Dec 2015
While NSW has made significant progress in increasing HIV testing by improving treatment uptake among people with HIV and strengthening prevention efforts, it is estimated that around 14 per cent of people with HIV are still undiagnosed.
World AIDS Day, on December 1, provides an important opportunity for us to remember those who have lost their lives to HIV and AIDS and to show support for people living with HIV.
To further promote awareness, AIDS Awareness Week (November 24-30), is focused on promoting HIV testing.
In the west, Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is working hard to increase awareness through community activities.
The Western Suburbs Haven, with the support of WSLHD’s HIV and Related Programs Unit, will be running a Red Ribbon stall in the Westmead Hospital foyer from 8am – 2pm on December 1.
Red ribbons, drink bottles, pens, tea towels and bags will be available to purchase.
WSLHD has also partnered with Parramatta City Council to light the Town Hall red on December 1.
WSLHD HIV and Related Programs unit manager Ashley Ubrihien said HIV can affect people of all ages, genders, races, and cultures.
“The most effective way for people to protect themselves and their partners is to consistently use condoms and have regular HIV and STI testing,” he said.
“HIV testing leads to early detection and allows early uptake of treatment, which improves health and prevents transmission to others.”
Early treatment is key to an effective response to HIV. Most people receiving treatment in Australia have a similar life expectancy to people without HIV. In NSW, more than 90 per cent of people with HIV, who attend public HIV and sexual health clinics, are now on treatment.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to address the HIV-related stigma that still persists in Australia, undermining prevention, testing and treatment efforts, and causing social isolation for many people living with HIV.
For more information on World AIDS Day, visit: www.worldaidsday.org.au