Nov 27
World Aids Day 2012

Dubbo Sexual Health, Family Planning NSW Dubbo, Dubbo City Council – Macquarie Regional Library commemorating

World AIDS Day 2012

30 years of HIV/AIDS in Australia - HIV is still in NSW


The first HIV diagnosis in Australia occurred 30 years ago with limited treatment options and support services available.

Since 1982, advances in treatment options have brought important improvements for those living with HIV and prevent efforts have dramatically reduced the number of new diagnoses to achieve a relatively stable rate of HIV notifications in NSW. 

In 2011, there were 330 new diagnoses of HIV in NSW residents, compared with 308 in 2010 and 329 in 2009. Currently, there are around 10,000 residents in NSW who live with HIV. 

HIV can affect people of all ages, genders, races and cultures. World AIDS Day, observed annually on 1 December, provides an important opportunity to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.

Margaret Crowley, Nurse Unit Manager, Dubbo Sexual Health Clinic said to overcome HIV; we need the support of the whole community. Not only do we need to combat HIV itself, but also cultural factors like stigma and discrimination in the workplace, in health care settings, schools, families and communities.

Peter, a teacher, designer and artist, speaks about living with HIV:

"My experiences of stigma and discrimination have changed over many years.

In the early days it was blatant, I saw vilification, violence, denial of medical treatment, eviction from rental accommodation, loss of jobs and being ostracised by friends and family.

“It is good to know that this is not so common today with better understanding. When it arose it was always due to fear and ignorance. Unfortunately stigma and discrimination now is often very subtle. When people become aware of your HIV status they may take a literal step back, there may be a palpable discomfort, tension or distancing in demeanour.

“They may make excuses as to why they can't deal with you then and there or refer you on to someone else. At times confidentiality can be broached. I recently had a young hospital doctor  who I was seeing for a non-HIV related issue get very nervous after I disclosed my positive HIV status, referring constantly to it as my

'problem'. I think the problem was his.

“Despite this being an uncommon experience for me today it made me realise that there is more to be done to address HIV stigma and discrimination.”

Due to improved treatments, people living with HIV are now living longer and healthier lives, but there is still no cure for HIV.

“The most effective way for people to protect themselves and their partners in reducing the spread of HIV is to consistently use condom with sexual partners and have regular HIV and STI testing,” said Mrs Crowley.

As part of World AIDS Day, community groups and organisations are holding events to increase community awareness about HIV, and to highlight HIV related stigma and discrimination, which can have a positive impact on attitudes and behaviours towards HIV/AIDS and people with HIV - at home, at work, in health services and the community.

Dubbo Sexual Health Clinic, Family Planning NSW Dubbo and Dubbo City Council – Macquarie Regional library will be holding “The Amazing Race - HIV is still here – it affects all races” to commemorate World AIDS Day on Saturday, December 1 at the Dubbo Library from 10am to 1pm.

This is a red ribbon event to raise awareness of HIV in our local community. There will be a race to collect answers to 6 – 10 clues within the Macquarie Regional Library, each team of a single person or group will enter a draw to win fabulous prizes. There will also be a number of activities throughout the morning – guess the celebrity with HIV, red ribbon colouring-in competition and how many condoms in the jar.  This is an event not to be missed.

Main prize on offer is a portable DVD player. Other prizes include pizza vouchers, cinema tickets, ITunes vouchers and pre-paid phone credit cards.

Twenty 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 – with this year marking 30 years of HIV/AIDS in Australia.

On World AIDS Day, 1 December, people in NSW are being asked to show their support for those living with HIV, by wearing a red ribbon.

For information on World AIDS Day go to www.worldaidsday.org.au

 


 


NSW HIV/AIDS database, Communicable Diseases Branch, NSW Ministry of Health, as at 25 May 2012. Accessed Sep 21 from URL: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/resources/publichealth/infectious/diseases/hiv_aids/new_diagnoses_hiv_infection_2011.pdf

HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual Surveillance Report 2011. Accessed Sep 21 from URL: http://www.kirby.unsw.edu.au/sites/hiv.cms.med.unsw.edu.au/files/hiv/resources/2011AnnualSurvReport_0.pdf