World AIDS Day is observed worldwide on 1 December each year. This year Far West NSW Local Health District (LHD) will join hundreds of events taking place throughout NSW to mark World AIDS Day and promote awareness of HIV testing.
Far West Sexual Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, Jo Lenton, said this year’s World AIDS Day theme for NSW is ‘Ending HIV’, and focuses on three key areas: Testing More, Treating Early and HIV Prevention.
“Preventing HIV is still very important. About 10,500 people living in NSW are diagnosed with HIV infection. It is estimated that another 10 per cent of people in NSW may be unaware they are infected with HIV. We are committed to changing this and making it easier for more people to test for HIV and help end HIV in NSW by 2020.
“To end HIV, more people need to get tested for HIV, more often. The earlier people know their status, the better their outlook,” said Ms Lenton.
People living with HIV in the Far West LHD can contact Broken Hill Sexual Health (phone 08 8080 1554 and Dareton Sexual Health 03 5021 7200) for an appointment with HIV sexual health specialists.
“The most effective way for people to protect themselves and their partners in reducing the spread of HIV is to always use condoms with new and casual sex partners and have regular HIV and STI tests. We need to encourage people to use condoms and get tested regularly to help us end HIV,” said Ms Lenton.
HIV can affect people of all ages, genders, races and cultures. In addition to gay men, all people at risk of HIV should be tested, especially people from countries with high rates of HIV, and anyone having had unprotected sex with a new or casual partner and people whom inject drugs.
“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,” said Ms Lenton.
As part of World AIDS Day, the Health District will be holding the following local events to increase community awareness about HIV and HIV testing:
World AIDS Day banner will be displayed in the Broken Hill Hospital foyer for the week.
Broken Hill Sexual Health Clinic staff will be outside Peoples Chemist in Argent Street on Monday, 1 December 2014 with a World Aids Day information stall with giveaways
For more information about Broken Hill Events please contact Jo Lenton: 08 8080 1554.
There will be a display in the foyer of the Health Service and the opportunity to speak to the Sexual Health Nurse or have a free HIV test.
For more information about Dareton events please contact Anita Erlandsen on 03 5021 7200.