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Stigma and Discrimination

Should I be worried about catching HV from you?

What not to ask someone living with HIV

NSW HIV Testing Week occurs in the first week of June, presenting the ideal opportunity to advocate for the uptake of regular HIV testing.

Pozhet has developed a series of educational videos aimed at dispelling common misconceptions surrounding HIV, challenging discriminatory attitudes towards HIV within the greater community.

Addressing HIV related stigma and discrimination is a shared responsibility.

Supporting the Campaign - Media Release

Recognised annually during the first week of June, NSW HIV Testing Week is a timely reminder to integrate HIV testing into routine healthcare. Normalising HIV testing supports reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV.

“HIV diagnoses in Australia have nearly halved in the last decade, with only 555 HIV diagnoses reported in 2022. In some areas of inner Sydney, the decline has been even more significant, with new infections falling by 88 percent — however we are still seeing HIV transmission occurring when one partner has HIV but does not know it.” States Dr Rachel Burdon, from RPA Sexual Health Clinic. Early diagnosis of HIV significantly improves outcomes, by treating and enabling long and healthy lives. It also mitigates the likelihood of unknowingly onward transmitting the virus to others.

“We need to remain focused on encouraging people to test by emphasising the importance of diagnosing early and starting treatment immediately which in turn leads to better health for the individual, as well as reduction in HIV infections in community.”
Dr Burdon’s messaging is clear: “Ending HIV – It’s Possible – Testing is everyone’s responsibility”

Efforts to combat HIV-related stigma are paramount, directly impacting the effectiveness of HIV prevention, testing, and treatment initiatives. Recent findings from the HIV Futures study reveal that over half of participants living with HIV reported experiences of stigma or discrimination within the past year, with 38% feeling discriminated against by healthcare workers due to their HIV status.
Everyone has a role to play in reducing HIV related stigma and discrimination. For more information visit Pozhet – https://pozhet.org.au/

Common misconceptions about HIV

What does undetectable viral load mean?
HIV medication (antiretroviral treatment, or ART) works by reducing the amount of HIV virus in the blood to undetectable levels. This means the levels of HIV are so low that the HIV virus is under a certain minimum level measured by a viral load test. This is called having an undetectable viral load or being undetectable.
It can take up to six months for some people to become undetectable from when they start treatment. The majority of people who take their treatment as prescribed become undetectable. Most people living with HIV have a regular viral load test.
If someone is undetectable can they pass on HIV?
Medical evidence shows us that if you are undetectable you cannot pass on HIV to sexual partners. Studies demonstrate that HIV medication and being undetectable greatly reduces the risk of HIV transmission through sharing injecting equipment. However, we don’t have enough evidence to establish that people with an undetectable HIV viral load cannot transmit HIV through needle sharing.
If someone is undetectable will they still test positive for HIV?
People with an undetectable viral load will still test positive for HIV. However, as long as they take HIV medication they can have another test which indicates how much virus is in their blood and whether they have an undetectable viral load.
If someone with HIV kisses me or licks me will I get HIV?
No HIV cannot be transmitted by saliva whether or not the person is taking HIV treatments.
Most daily activities pose no risk of HIV transmission. Only certain body fluids can spread HIV — blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and to a much less degree breast milk. It can’t be transmitted via saliva, sweat, skin, or urine.

Support Services

Positive Life NSW  https://www.positivelife.org.au/

Bobby Goldsmith Foundation https://www.bgf.org.au/

ACON https://www.acon.org.au/

Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service  https://www.mhahs.org.au/