The number of new HIV diagnoses in Australia is at its highest in a decade, with almost 17,000 people living with HIV in Australia, and 1,000 people becoming newly infected each year.
The statistics highlight the need to raise funds for the provision of essential services, education and campaigns for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
AIDS Awareness Week (25 November-1 December) will culminate this Saturday 1 December in World AIDS Day, when NSW residents are reminded that “prevention is everybody’s business”.
The high-profile HIV/AIDS education and fundraising day follows the Red Ribbon Day Street Appeal this Friday.
NSW residents will still be able to make a donation to the Red Ribbon Appeal on Saturday by purchasing red ribbon merchandise from businesses displaying Red Ribbon boxes or making a donation via the official website at www.redribbonday.org.au.
ACON president Adrian Lovney said significant progress had been made in recent years against the virus, though it remains a major health issue in NSW.
“On World AIDS Day, we’re asking people to protect themselves and their partners by using condoms when having sex,” he said.
“We’re asking people never to share needles. We’re asking people to get tested regularly for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. And we’re asking people to be informed and talk about HIV/AIDS.”
Lovney said World AIDS Day was also a time to remember the 40 million people around the world who live with HIV and the 28 million people who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
HIV infection rates among people aged 15-49 years are slightly lower in Australia than in the United Kingdom, a third of that in Italy and a quarter of that in the United States, according to the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research 2007 surveillance report.
About 85 percent of HIV transmissions in Australia occur through sex between gay and other homosexually active men, about 13 percent occur through heterosexual sex, and about two percent occur through injecting drug use. Over the past 25 years, about 6,700 Australians have died from AIDS.

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