World AIDS Day (1 December 2017)
NSW can celebrate encouraging news about new infection rates and prevention options for HIV, on the eve of World AIDS Day on 1 December 2017.
Research now confirms that people living with HIV on effective treatment cannot pass on the virus, meaning that an undetectable viral load means an un-transmittable virus. This is great news and peace of mind for those living with HIV and their HIV negative partners.
The rollout of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP – a pill per day medication that prevents HIV infection and traditional prevention methods such as consistent condom use have contributed to the first significant decline in new infections.
The news is also good for those living with HIV. Medications are more effective, better tolerated and leading to better quality of life. Combined with the news of achieving non-infectiousness, the HIV story for World AIDS Day 2017 is a resoundingly positive one.
To celebrate World AIDS Day the Broken Hill Sexual Health Clinic in partnership with the local LGBTI Group, ACON and the Palace Hotel, will hold a fun, interactive screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday December 1 at the Palace Hotel. The show starts at 6.30pm, entry via a gold coin donation and the theme is ‘Drag Up, Drag Out or Just Rock Up’.
On December 5 there is a Family Fun Day 10.30am to 2pm at the Community Hub (Creedon Street) in partnership with Compass Housing. There will be a free barbecue lunch and giveaways.
One of the key messages being promoted this World AIDS Day is to know your status, which is one of the best ways to drive down infections. Approximately 10 percent of people with HIV do not know that they have the virus and could unknowingly pass the virus onto others.
“We need to get people testing regularly, know their status, and continue to use effective prevention strategies. In some cases this means educating yourself about how to keep yourself safe,” said local Sexual Health Nurse, Ms Jo Lenton.
Sexual Health clinics are a great source of information and support.
“You can get tested through your sexual health clinic, GP or Aboriginal Medical Service, or if you’re not comfortable discussing sexual health with your doctor, call us at the clinic, or check out the sexual health info link,” said Ms Lenton.
Ms Lenton said HIV is shifting within our community over time. “While most people think of HIV as something that only affects gay men, it’s important to realise that a virus doesn’t discriminate. Heterosexuals get HIV as well, and the earlier the virus is identified and treated, the better the health outcomes for the individual.”
Testing is easier, with the option of testing at home for some priority groups currently being trialled. Dried Blood Spot testing is a quick and easy postal test that allows confidential screening at home and linkage into services if the screening tool recommends further testing. The website provides information on the service as well as a tool to find out if you’re eligible. To check out the dried blood spot testing site go to: www.hivtest.health.nsw.gov.au
For more information go to:Dried Blood Spot testing: www.hivtest.health.nsw.gov.au
Sexual Health Infolink (including local clinic information): https://www.shil.nsw.gov.au/