World AIDS Day 2023: We Must Keep Up The Momentum To End HIV

World AIDS Day 2023: We Must Keep Up The Momentum To End HIV
Image: Supplied

Today (1 December) is World AIDS Day, a time to remember and honour those we have lost to HIV/AIDS as well as the many people who loved and cared for them, and to show our support for people living with HIV.

Today is also a day to raise awareness of issues relating to HIV and educate people about how we can reduce HIV transmissions in NSW and tackle HIV stigma.

2023 Marks The 35th Anniversary Of World AIDS Day

2023 marks the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day. We have made remarkable progress since the first World AIDS Day was held in 1988, but HIV is still with us and there is still a long way to go.

As a community we have worked together to make great strides in recent years, but we cannot afford to lose momentum now. Already in 2023, data from NSW Health from January to June shows 128 residents of New South Wales have been newly diagnosed with HIV.

Our community’s HIV testing rates remain impressive and are now returning to pre-COVID pandemic levels. In the second quarter of 2023, HIV testing in NSW was 8% higher compared to the same quarter in 2022. Similarly, the number of HIV tests performed in publicly funded sexual health clinics during the first quarter of 2023 was 24% higher than the same quarter in 2022.

The Strategies For Ending HIV Transmissions Are Very Clear

The strategies for ending HIV transmissions are very clear. They are encouraging sexually active gay and bisexual men to get tested regularly for HIV and STIs; continuing to use HIV prevention methods such as PrEP, condoms and Undetectable Viral Load; and treatment commencing as soon as possible after someone is diagnosed with HIV.

We continue to see good progress in some areas and groups – like inner city community-connected gay and bisexual men. But we also know that there are still parts of our communities that need greater focus. For example, we are not seeing the same declines in HIV infections among those living outside metropolitan areas, like Western and South-Western Sydney, as well as among overseas-born gay and bisexual men. Ensuring these groups are receiving appropriate and tailored HIV testing, prevention and treatment messages is critical.

We will continue to work with sector and other partners and commend them for their steadfast commitment to addressing HIV, including the NSW Government and the Australian Government. We welcome the release of national HIV Taskforce Report, which outlines a range of recommendations that aims to accelerate Australia’s HIV response. These include increasing the use of PrEP, increasing testing rates and ensuring access to treatment.

Crucial To Ending HIV Is Addressing Stigma

Also crucial to ending HIV is addressing stigma and discrimination which still persists. Stigma has profound effects on people living with HIV, in terms of both their physical and mental wellbeing. It can also prevent others at risk from seeking resources and getting tested. That’s why it’s vital that we continue to challenge and address HIV stigma today and every day.

We thank everyone in our communities for continuing to look after their health and that of their partners by testing often, staying safe, treating early and tackling HIV stigma. On the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day, we urge everyone to keep up the momentum. Only by ensuring that no one is left behind can we achieve a future where HIV has ended and people with HIV live happy and healthy lives.

Nicolas Parkhill is the CEO of ACON.

Learn more about ACON’s efforts to end HIV at

Support ACON’s annual World AIDS Day fundraising campaign, the Red Ribbon Appeal, at

You May Also Like

Comments are closed.