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Media Release

Saturday 9 March 2024

On the National Day of Women living with HIV, Positive Life encourages all women to get tested to help reach the goal of ending HIV transmission across the state by 2020.

On this day as we recognise and celebrate all women living with HIV, including our trans and gender diverse sisters and those who identify as non-binary, together we want to raise awareness that women get HIV too!

“HIV is not restricted to any single group of people,” said Positive Life NSW CEO, Jane Costello. “Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for HIV”.

“Many of us think HIV will never affect us, it is not in my backyard, and I’m not at risk of contracting HIV,” said Positive Life NSW Peer Navigation Officer, Priscilla Njeri.

“The reality is, women acquire HIV through relationships, because of societal norms and practices, through domestic violence, and factors such as poverty, inadequate access to healthcare, and other intersectional socio-cultural issues,” said Mrs Njeri.

“Here in NSW, women living with HIV make up about 12% of the total population of people living with HIV and worldwide more than half (around 53%) of all people living with HIV are women over the age of 15,” said Ms Costello. “Estimates are that there are currently 1,070 women living with HIV in NSW, with approximately 5% of those who are undiagnosed and therefore unaware of their status,” she said.

The earlier HIV is diagnosed, and the sooner HIV medication is begun, the better the health outcomes for women who are living with HIV. Early diagnosis and early treatment means people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives.

Prevention is still important, and condoms are considered the best way to prevent both HIV and STIs.

All women are encouraged to get an annual HIV test, particularly those who have never been tested before. This includes women:

  • Who have had sex when travelling in a country where HIV is common;
  • Had sex with someone from a country where HIV is common;
  • Who come from a country where HIV is common;
  • Who’ve used injecting equipment after someone else; and
  • Women who have had a change of partner.

­HIV testing is fast, easy and anonymous with a variety of free and confidential services. Women can get tested at their local GP, NSW Family Planning health service or visit the NSW Sexual Health Infolink or call 1800 451 624. Women can also order a discreet free HIV-self-testing kit online at www.fast.hivtest.au

Positive Life NSW will hold an annual National Day of Women living with HIV high tea in Parramatta for women living with HIV, friends and supporters and hear from a range of presenters speaking to our 2024 theme, Women get HIV too!


Jane Costello, CEO – 1800 245 677 or email communications@positivelife.org.au

Positive Life NSW is the largest peer-led and run representative body of all people living with HIV in Australia based in NSW. We make a significant contribution to, and positive impact across the spectrum of health and social issues on behalf of all people living with HIV in collaboration with HIV specialist and mainstream services to improve the health and quality of life of all people living with HIV in NSW. We do this through evidence-based health promotion, research, policy advice and peer support.

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