World AIDS Day on 1 December 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. There are local events in Dubbo and Orange taking place to raise awareness leading up to the World AIDS Day.
HIV can affect people of all ages, genders, races, and cultures. More people are testing and accessing support services than ever before, but there’s still more work to be done to ensure timely diagnoses and enable access to early treatment uptake, highlighting the need for people to test and test more often. HIV testing is easier and more accessible than ever before.
Georgiana Simpson, Western NSW LHD Blood Borne Virus Prevention Coordinator, said NSW has made significant progress in increasing HIV testing, treatment uptake among people with diagnosed HIV and strengthening prevention efforts, although it is estimated that around14 per cent of people with HIV are undiagnosed.
“The most effective way for people to protect themselves and their partners is to consistently use condoms with sexual partners and have regular HIV and STI testing,” Georgiana said.
“HIV testing leads to early detection and allows early uptake of treatment, which improves individual health and prevents transmission to others”.
Early treatment is a key to an effective response to HIV. Most people receiving treatment in Australia have a similar life expectancy to people without HIV. In NSW, over 90% of people with HIV attending 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.
To further promote awareness about HIV and AIDS, Western NSW Local Health District will be hosting a number of events and social media campaigns focusing on community awareness, support for those living with HIV, and promoting HIV testing, in the lead up to World AIDS Day on 1st December.
Orange Sexual Health Service are distributing World AIDS Day resource packages to a variety of local Orange businesses who will further promote HIV awareness messaging in the community and show their support for the Orange and Dubbo Sexual Health Facebook campaign ‘#Ending HIV”.
Sydney Sexual health Centre Medical Director, Anna McNulty will be available in Dubbo on World AIDS Day to answer questions from the community, radio or other local services.
Dubbo and Orange Sexual Health Services are also supporting the Dubbo and region Rainbow Alliance promotion of Holding the Man, which is based on the hugely successful memoir and stage play of the same name. The movie tells the story of 15 year-long love affair between Timothy Conigrave and the boy he fell in love with at high school, John Caleo. Their relationship blossomed and endured in the face of everything life threw at it – pride, adversity, discrimination, temptation and loss – until the only problem that love couldn’t solve, tried to destroy them.
The screening of ‘Holding the Man’ will be held on Tuesday, December 01 6:30PM - 8:38PM
at Reading Cinema Dubbo. General information is available at: https://www.tugg.com/events/76562
Positive Life NSW representative and Positive Speakers Bureau (PSB) speaker, Paul Caleo will be attending to share insight into the lived experience of HIV. Paul is the cousin of John, who is in the beautiful couple featured in the film.
For information on World AIDS Day event’s contact:
Orange Sexual health on 1800 816 925
Dubbo Sexual health on 1800 851 700 or visit:
For information on HIV and HIV testing, visit: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/HIV_AIDS.aspx
Media Contact: Georgiana Simpson, Western NSW LHD Blood Borne Virus Prevention Coordinator, Ph: 6330 5942