Positive Life NSW Logo 2021

Media Release

9 March 2021

Positive Life along with Femfatales, the National Network of Women Living with HIV, celebrates the sixth National Day of Women Living with HIV (NDWLHIV) on Tuesday 9 March over an afternoon high tea in Sydney NSW. Femfatales established the NDWLHIV in 2016, to raise awareness of and the lived experience of HIV for all women in Australia.

On this day we affirm and recognise all women living with HIV, including our trans and gender diverse sisters living with HIV, under the 2021 theme ‘Taking control of our health’.

“As we have navigated the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have neglected or postponed our sexual and reproductive health checks,” said Ms Jane Costello, Positive Life NSW CEO. “Let’s take control of our health, regardless of our HIV status, and focus on our own health and wellbeing,” she said.

“Now it’s time to resume our health tests, whether it is as simple as checking our blood pressure or cholesterol, or revisiting our vital cervical screening and breast checks including a HIV test. Our sexual, mental, emotional and physical health must remain our priority,” said Ms Costello.

“Taking control of our health means more than just physical medical care. It includes our emotional and mental well being, maintaining honest, open and frank conversations with our healthcare professionals and positive self-regard for our needs.”

“Most sexually active adults carry the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), an extremely common sexually transmitted infection (STI) which carries an increased risk for all women living with HIV, said Ms Costello.

“Consequently, women living with HIV have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer, anal cancer, and other Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers of the genital region, including oral and oropharyngeal cancers,” she warned.

“Early detection of HPV is vital and saves lives, as does early detection of HIV. Heterosexual transmission of HIV has not decreased, and it is important that all sexually active women are offered regular STI tests, including HIV, free of judgement, stigma or perceived risk,” said Ms Costello.

­Women can get tested at their local GP or health service, or to find where to get a free test visit the NSW Sexual Health Infolink or call 1800 451 624.

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

Positive Life NSW is the voice of all people living with HIV in NSW since 1988. We are 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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