One in six people diagnosed with HIV in NSW report heterosexual exposure. At least 10 per cent of people with HIV don’t know they have the virus and could unknowingly pass the virus onto others.
These are the surprising statistics which Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s (MLHD) HIV & Related Program (HARP) Manager Alison Nikitas hopes will prompt more people get tested for HIV. Once a person is diagnosed, they can start treatment and improve their health outcome and prevent the virus from being passed onto others.
“A person with HIV who is on treatment in 2016 can expect a near-normal life expectancy and to live a healthy life. Health professionals now view and treat HIV like any other chronic manageable condition,” Ms Nikitas said.
In the week leading up to World AIDS Day (WAD) on December 1, health professionals across NSW are encouraging people ‘at risk’ of HIV to be tested. In addition to encouraging gay and homosexually active men to continue regular testing, NSW Health is also encouraging the following groups to get a test:
– Heterosexual men and women with behaviours putting them at risk of HIV, such as men who identify as heterosexual but who have sex with men, people who inject drugs.
– People from countries where there are high rates of HIV and people who have had unprotected sex while travelling.
During WAD the documentary Transmission: The Journey from AIDS to HIV will be screened at:
- Griffith Neighbourhood House Community Centre, 80 Benerembah Street from 6 to 8 pm Wednesday, November 30.
– Museum of the Riverina, corner Baylis & Morrow Street, Wagga Wagga, from 6 to 8pm Thursday, December 1 followed by a panel discussion.
For confidential information on where to get a HIV test, people can call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.
In the lead up to World AIDS Day visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/hiv-test to learn more about HIV.
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