We’re calling on people to mark World AIDS Day (Dec 1) this year by joining in efforts to end HIV transmission in NSW by the end of the decade.
ACON President Dr Justin Koonin says recent advances in HIV treatments and testing technologies have now made it possible to virtually eliminate HIV transmission in NSW by 2020.
“World AIDS Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the impact that HIV/AIDS has had both locally and globally, as well as a time to look to the future and what we can all do to end the HIV epidemic.
“In NSW, gay men are the population most at risk of HIV transmission, accounting for over three-quarters of new HIV diagnoses. To reach our goal of ending HIV transmission by 2020, we still need even more gay men to get tested, treat early and stay safe,” Dr Koonin says.
“So today on World AIDS Day, we’re encouraging gay men to know their HIV status by getting tested regularly, at least twice a year. Our a[TEST] services in Sydney and across NSW are run by gay men for gay men and you can get a result in less than 30 minutes.
“We’re also calling on gay men to stay safe by using condoms when they’re having casual sex, as condoms are easily accessible and extremely effective at preventing HIV transmission. Finally, we’re also advising HIV-positive people to consider starting treatment immediately, as modern HIV treatments have significant health benefits including reducing HIV in the blood to undetectable levels, which also drastically reduces the risk of HIV transmission.”
Dr Koonin is urging NSW residents to help raise funds for programs and services that are vital to ending the HIV epidemic by donating to ACON’s Ending HIV Red Ribbon Appeal. “Our volunteers are out in central Sydney and other locations in regional NSW on World AIDS Day selling Red Ribbon merchandise, so please support the Appeal by purchasing a ribbon, pin or wristband. You can also buy ribbons from participating shops and businesses, or you can make a cash donation online at www.redribbonappeal.org.au.
“This year we’re marking 30 years of caring for our community. So today on World AIDS Day, and during this landmark year for our organisation, we remember and honour the thousands of people who have died of an AIDS-related illness as well as the people and loved ones who cared for them. And we thank the hundreds of thousands of people who have contributed to, participated in and supported our work over the years to reduce HIV transmission, support people with HIV and improve the health of LGBTI people.
“We pay tribute to the courage and determination of the tens of thousands of people in NSW and the tens of millions around the world who live with HIV and the many challenges they have lived through and continue to face.
“Now is the time for us to work together to end HIV transmission in our community. It’s history in the making and we can all be a part of that by supporting efforts to end HIV. Please join us and make a difference.”
Media contact: Andrew Hamadanian, ACON Media and Communication Officer
T: (02) 9206 2044 E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 0419 555 768