Make HIV prevention, testing, and treatment more inclusive: 2022 World AIDS Day

There is a pressing need to make HIV prevention, testing and treatment services more inclusive, according to this year’s World AIDS Day campaign. The campaign theme ‘Equalise’ highlights the need to tackle HIV stigma and increase access to these key services, so they are welcoming to everyone including people from diverse communities.

HIV remains a public health concern in Australia, with an estimated 29,090 people living with HIV (Kirby Institute 2020 report). Nearly one in ten Australians living with HIV are unaware they have the virus and may be unknowingly passing on the virus to others.

‘Fear of HIV stigma and discrimination is a major reason behind why many people from diverse communities still hesitate to test for HIV,’ said Barbara Luisi, Manager of the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service (MHAHS).

‘Our communities are more likely to miss out on accessing key HIV services on time. The proportion of late HIV diagnoses is higher among people from CALD communities. Testing early is key for accessing HIV treatment quickly. HIV treatment is free, even if you don’t have a Medicare card.’

Engaging people from diverse communities is a critical component of our response to HIV, according to Dr Rachel Burdon, Acting Head of Sexual Health Services at Sydney Local Health District

‘Community engagement provides an opportunity for individuals and organisations to play an active role in tackling HIV stigma. We need to continue working together to improve uptake of HIV testing, and reduce HIV transmission,’ said Dr Burdon.  

The Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service (MHAHS) is supporting the campaign by promoting its award-winning resource HIV: What you need to know, available in eight languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese. The e-booklet can be downloaded from the MHAHS website, and free hard copies are available to order.

For media interviews, please contact Sonam Paljor at 9515 1234 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.