HIV testing soars in Canberra as ACT Testing Month wraps up

This content was generated via a Google Alert and the content is owned by the original site

Click here to visit the original site

Canberra’s HIV prevention advocates have called the inaugural ACT Testing Month a success,  with the number of people being tested for sexually transmitted diseases doubling in November.

However, ACT AIDS Action Council acting executive director Philippa Moss said it was important people didn’t get complacent, with HIV diagnoses doubling in the past three years.

She said about  100 ACT residents were tested for sexually transmitted infections during November,  almost twice the usual number.

“It’s our first year [of ACT Testing Month] so we don’t expect to be perfect the first year round, it’s a pilot year. We’re learning as we go, so certainly we’ll do it again next year, bigger and better,” she said.

Ms Moss said the AIDS Action Council and Canberra Sexual Health Centre had definitely seen a surge in people coming in for testing, while the flow-on to general practices was not known yet.

Although pleased with the impact of the initiative, she said it was more important to create a culture of regular testing to ensure people looked after their sexual health.

“HIV diagnoses have doubled in the last three years, mainly in men who have sex with men, but not exclusively so,” she said.

Ms Moss said although HIV was no longer a death sentence, it continued to be a major public health issue and a frightening and traumatic experience.

“It is a lifelong regime of drug therapy, potential side effects, continued monitoring, visits to health professional and concerns about associated illness like osteoporosis,” she said.

“On an emotional level, it can be a roller-coaster, leaving people isolated, fragile and vulnerable. Then there is the stigma and discrimination.”

ACT Testing Month will end on Monday, which  is World AIDS Day.

Comments are closed.