HIV fears laid to rest after hike in people getting tested in central west

THERE’S been a big jump in the number of people in the central and far west who sought testing for the HIV virus in the last year, compared to the previous year.

Encouragingly the 23 per cent increase in testing has not turned up one positive diagnosis of the virus in the Western Local Health District (WLHD).

District manager of HIV programs and population health for the WLHD, Angela Parker said the district continues to maintain focus on HIV prevention.

“Early diagnosis and early treatment which is known to improve outcomes for individuals is the key to the aim of virtually eliminating the spread of HIV by 2020,” she said.

Ms Parker said it is important to continue to promote the benefits of being tested for the HIV virus.

“Although there is no cure for HIV, treatment has few side effects,” she said.

“By testing and diagnosis, early antiretroviral treatments can be prescribed which not only improves health and wellbeing, but also reduces the risk of spreading HIV to others.

Ms Parker said the long-term prognosis for anyone who is diagnosed with HIV is far more positive than years ago.

“The future for people with HIV who take advantage of high quality healthcare is much brighter than it was a decade ago,” she said.

Ms Parker said Orange residents are able to access a free and confidential testing service at the Orange Sexual Health Clinic at 96 Kite Street where HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and blood borne viruses in individuals can be tested.

For free and confidential sexual health support and information call 1800-816-925 or call the NSW sexual health infoline on 1800-451-624 weekdays from 9am to 5.30pm.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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