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AIDS: the disease behind the stigma

Wednesday, 1st December, 2010

Sexual health nurse Jane Davies, clinical specialist Jo Lenton, and the City Library’s Marvis Sofield withe the AIDS Day display Sexual health nurse Jane Davies, clinical specialist Jo Lenton, and the City Library’s Marvis Sofield withe the AIDS Day display

Hospital staff are marking World AIDS Day today by setting up a display at the City Library to let people know more about the disease.

Twenty two years since World AIDS Day was declared, HIV notifications in NSW remain stable but 300 new cases of HIV infection are diagnosed each year.

GWAHS Sexual Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, Jo Lenton, said World AIDS Day provides an ideal opportunity to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, including the need for support and understanding for people with HIV.

"Australians of all ages and backgrounds are affected by HIV. We need to continue to be informed about HIV in order to work towards reducing the related stigma and discrimination of HIV/ AIDS," Mrs Lenton said. 

"Some people with HIV/AIDS fear having their HIV status revealed and avoid seeking HIV treatment on time, which may affect their overall wellbeing," she said.

A display with information on how to protect yourself, where to go for advice and testing, as well as general information, can be seen at the Charles Rasp all week.

Library staff will also be wearing t-shirts and red ribbons. Mrs Lenton said one of the ways to reduce and prevent HIV related stigma and discrimination is to increase people's knowledge of the disease and learn how it is transmitted.

"The most effective way for people to prevent HIV transmission is to practice safe sex by using condoms, testing regularly for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV, is also an important part of staying healthy," she said.

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