Sunday, 2 December 2007

World Aids Day

This weekend marks World Aids Day.

In Cairns, a candlelight ceremony was held last evening, with speeches and the reading of names in City Place.

The organisers asked a few months ago to use the Council reception rooms in Spence Street, but were told after many requests, that "it really isn't suitable. It's mainly for community events." I kid you not.

In the UK, Prime Minister Brown made a special announcement and Bush in the US is seeking $30 billion over the next five years to fight HIV/Aids. This is for the provision of drugs primarily in 15 nations, mostly in Africa. Those infected has risen from 50,000 to 1.5 million in sub-Saharan countries.

UNAIDS says nearly 33 million people were living with the virus in 2006 - almost 7m fewer than previously thought.

In Australia, 963 where diagnosed with HIV last year, and 261 with AIDS, an increase of 3% since 2004. Relative to population size, NSW has had by far the highest rate of HIV diagnoses: 213.9 per 100,000 people. Victoria has had the second highest rate of 110.4 and ACT is not far behind at 87.1.

Rates have been similar across Queensland at 73.4, NT 72.9, WA 69.1) and SA (66.0). Tasmania has had the lowest rate of 24.1 HIV diagnoses per 100,000 population.

HIV diagnoses in Australia peaked in 1987, following 12 years of decline, after which the rate of diagnoses grew again in 2006. The annual number of AIDS diagnoses peaked in 1994 at 953 cases, and then declined rapidly to 215 in 1999. The fall since 1996 was largely due to the introduction of effective combination antiretroviral therapy, which delays progression from HIV infection to AIDS. The number of AIDS diagnoses has since remained relatively stable.

For local assistance in Cairns, you can talk to Brian or Amanda at the new QaHC Resource Centre, is located next to Bob Jane on the corner Draper and Florence Streets, Tel 4041 5451.
  • Sources: National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research. Australian HIV Surveillance Report, Vol 23, No 2, April 2007
    National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research. HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia
    Annual Surveillance Reports 1997-2007. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Sydney, NSW; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra, ACT

1 comment:

Paul - Edmonton said...

Good to see the Cairns City Council getting behind World Aids Day. How Pathetic. If ever there was a community event, this would be one of them because it affects the community on a whole.
I know a lot of people still link HIV/AIDS with homosexuality and drug use. Those days are gone now. The community as a whole has to realise that HIV can be contracted by straigh, non drug users as easily as it can with homosexuals and drug users.
And for those who are homophobic, and anti-drug, you will have to get used to it. They are here for ever. So as a community, we have to work to find a cure for this condition.