This HIV Testing Week (1-7 June) is urging people, including those from diverse backgrounds to resume routine HIV testing.
Early diagnoses helps people get effective treatments in time and reduce the risks of passing on HIV to others.
Data released by NSW Health shows HIV testing rates dropped in 2021 due to COVID-19 disruptions. Laboratories tests in NSW were 15% lower in 2021 than in 2019. Home testing via Dried Blood Spot (DBS) dropped by 50% in the last quarter of 2021 than in the previous quarter.
There are many options to get a HIV test. HIV testing is free if you have a Medicare card. Temporary visitors in NSW without a Medicare card may go to Sexual Health Clinics for free, easy and confidential services. For people wanting to avoid crowded places such doctor’s offices and clinics, the online DBS test remain a popular option.
DBS testing kit is available for order from hivtest.health.nsw.gov.au. For more information, download 2021 NSW Multicultural Health Communication Award-winning resource HIV – What you need to know for more information here.
Sydney Local Health District is encouraging local communities to come back to their doctors and resume their critical liver health checks.
“Now is the time to take care of ourselves and look after your liver health. If you are living with chronic hepatitis B, getting tested and finding whether you have hepatitis B is part of it. Without treatment, chronic hepatitis B can lead to liver cancer. Postponing your hepatitis B test may delay life-saving treatment,” said Barbara Luisi, Director of Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub.
The Are you living with hepatitis B? Find Out. Get Tested campaign developed by the Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub encourages people from diverse communities to get tested for hepatitis B and look after their liver health. Starting May 2nd, the month-long state-wide campaign across ethnic newspaper, radio and social media campaign aims to raise awareness of hepatitis B testing and treatment across the Arabic-speaking, Chinese-speaking, Korean, Sub-Saharan African, and Vietnamese communities living in NSW.
Visit our multilingual Hepatitis B Testing Options Page for more information. A multilingual resource toolkit, which includes the campaign digital and hard copy resources is available on the campaign webpage.
The multilingual HIV information booklet HIV – What you need to know has been recognised as a finalist in the 2021 Multicultural Health Communication Awards, as the world marks 40 years since the start of the AIDS epidemic.
The booklet was developed by the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service (MHAHS) partnered with the community. It focuses on HIV prevention, testing, and treatment as well as addressing stigma and improving access to health services.
“Advances in treatments and prevention mean that people with HIV on effective treatments can enjoy long and healthy lives, have virtually no risk of passing on HIV to others and can have children without HIV,” Barbara Luisi, the District’s Director of the Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub, said.
“In response to the concerns of our community, we developed this booklet in partnership with them. Insights and feedback from community consultations, focus group testing and peer-review played a critical role in taking a culturally appropriate approach to a sensitive topic,” Ms Luisi said.
The booklet is available in eight languages – English, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.
So far, more than 6,500 hard copies have been distributed state-wide through healthcare services, NGOs and community based organisations. Digital copies can be downloaded here.
The recognition as a finalist in the Multicultural Health Communication Awards coincides with World AIDS Day, which is an opportunity to reflect on the response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic. This year’s theme is 40 years of HIV – where to next?
The winners of the Multicultural Health Communication Awards will be announced on 8 December 2021.
Visit our campaign page for more details.
This HIV Testing Week (1-7 June) encourages people to make HIV testing more routine. Aimed at making more people aware of their HIV status, the campaign asks people at risk to make HIV testing a part of their regular self-care.
This campaign encourages people at risk of HIV to ask their doctor for a test, according to Barbara Luisi, Director of the Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub at Sydney Local Health District.
“Knowing your HIV test result early means getting the right help on time. With treatment, people have a better chance of living long, healthy lives and not passing on the virus,” said Ms Luisi.HIV remains a public health concern in Australia with an estimated 29,045 people living with HIV in 2019. According to the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) more than three thousand people remain unaware they have the virus and may be unknowingly passing it on to others. They also risk missing out on getting HIV treatments on time due to late diagnosis.
There are a variety of ways to get a HIV test these days, including not having to visit a clinic in person for testing.
The online Dried Blood Spot (DBS) Testing allows people to order a free testing kit, do the test in the privacy of their own home and send it to a laboratory to check their results.
The test can be ordered by visiting the DBS site http://www.hivtest.health.nsw.gov.au which also has information in a range of languages including plain English.
The Sydney Local Health District based Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service is supporting the campaign by promoting HIV home testing across Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian and Thai community media.
Visit our campaign page for more details.