Recommended ACT Priorities for Action: HIV (Plain English)

PLAIN ENGLISH VERSION > For those not familiar with complex health and medical terminology
DETAILED VERSION WEBPAGE > Includes priorities document, references and further information >

Thirty years into the fight against HIV, Canberra is home to many people affected by the disease, directly or as friends, colleagues, family or community, and despite a strong public understanding of the cause and prevention of HIV, a number of newly-reported diagnoses are added to this community every year. The team at the AIDS Action Council of the ACT is focussing its passion and resources in the following priority areas to achieve better health outcomes for all Canberrans: 


It’s good to have a goal, and our goal for 2016 and beyond is to see new transmissions drop to zero. It’s also the goal of the United Nations, and we are working towards it with prevention programs especially targeting the young and other at-risk people. Science has made giants steps in this area recently and we will fight to make new prevention treatments (like the HIV-prevention drug PrEP) available locally.


Tests often make people nervous, and delaying getting tested for HIV and other STIs – because you’re nervous about the result, because it’s hard or inconvenient to go to a doctor or clinic – might have impacts on your own health, or others. We will be focussing on community-based testing – bringing testing and follow-up support out into the areas it is needed.  


Effective treatment of HIV has seen many once facing a dramatic and terminal condition, to managing a life-long chronic health condition, and the key to this outcome is information and treatment. We are constantly adapting to accommodate new science and new treatments as they become available (such as the PEP, which can give those exposed to HIV a brief window for preventing infection) to help people manage their own treatments, including those who choose not to take treatments.


We aim to increase care and support services for people diagnosed and impacted by HIV, and their families. We are treating a person, not a disease, and so our focus is on that person and their community. We will continue to evolve our services to meet the needs of the growing group of ageing individuals who have survived and now face both managing HIV treatments and old age. 


Bringing an end to the stigma and discrimination faced by the communities we support is our ongoing struggle and priority. The ACT Human Rights Act 2004 made it law, but it is up to all of us to improve the community’s understanding of HIV and consequently ensure all Canberrans equally enjoy its rights and protections. 


We aim to improve collection of and access to data about HIV in our community, and share it with researchers – and we think that involving our HIV-affected community in the design, planning and implementation of research and data collection process will lead to better science outcomes.

This is a plain-English fact sheet written for those not familiar with complex health and medical terminology. Detailed AIDS Action Council of the ACT 2016 priorities document, references and further information in available here.

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