Let Communities Lead: World AIDS Day 2023 Champions Inclusion, Respect, and Equity

Let Communities Lead: World AIDS Day 2023 Champions Inclusion, Respect, and Equity

As the world marks World AIDS Day on December 1, we emphasize the important role that communities play in halting HIV transmission. The global theme for this year, "Let Communities Lead," underlines the strength of community work in the global fight against HIV.

Community-led efforts are at the heart of the fight against HIV, yet they grapple with limited resources. On World AIDS Day, we recognize these challenges and commit to working more closely with them to combat HIV effectively.

Our message is clear: "Let Communities Lead." This powerful message, according to Barbara Luisi, Manager of the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service (MHAHS), echoes not only on World AIDS Day but throughout December and beyond as we unite for change.

In line with the 2023 Australian campaign theme, "Inclusion, Respect, Equity," we emphasize the urgent need to make HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services more inclusive. Our goal is to tackle HIV stigma and ensure accessibility for all, including community members from diverse backgrounds.

HIV remains a public health concern in Australia, with approximately 29,460 people living with HIV. Alarmingly, nearly one in ten Australians with HIV are unaware of their status, potentially unknowingly transmitting the virus.

The fear of HIV stigma and discrimination has deterred many from testing, especially in diverse communities. Early testing is crucial for prompt treatment, and it's vital to note that HIV treatment is available free of charge, even without a Medicare card.

Professor David Templeton, Head of Department of Sexual Health Medicine in Sydney Local Health District, underscores the importance of community engagement in addressing HIV stigma. He believes that through collaborative efforts, we can boost HIV testing rates, encourage those at risk to take the HIV prevention pill known as “PreP” and consequently reduce HIV transmission. 

To support this campaign, MHAHS is 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 upon request. Supporters can also access a toolkit outlining the variety of multilingual resources and how to support the campaign.

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