Dear Colleagues, Brothers, Sisters,
We are pleased to announce an important and impending nationally coordinated event, the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week commencing 28th November to 5th December 2014.
HIV first entered Australia 30 years ago, and despite early warnings of a catastrophe among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we experience rates of HIV diagnosis similar to that of the non-Indigenous population- a story that should be celebrated!! However, during the last five years we have noted significant issues that place this at risk, including a slightly higher rate of HIV diagnosis compared to non-Indigenous people, including higher rates of diagnosis among women and among people who inject drugs and continued elevated rates among men who sex with men. We need to turn this around to prevent a major escalation in HIV among our population. Harnessing community, getting people to be informed and educated about HIV is one of the most successful planks of prevention, and in recent years has fallen off the agenda.
The inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week is a start in getting the conversation going again. The overarching theme of the week is YOU AND ME CAN STOP HIV. Although UANDME CANSTOPHIV will be branded on twitter and social media during the week.
We intend to run this as an annual event each year. For service providers this week provides an opportunity to engage your community in this dialogue. Currently we are assembling resources that can be used at community events during this week. These resources will be available for the community and will include balloons, fridge markets, information postcards, t-shirts for staff etc. It is hoped you will be able to host a stall, an information table or community event such as a BBQ during this week. If you would like to receive resources for use during the week or afterwards at any time please get in contact with us. In addition we would like to hear of your plans so that we can post this to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week Facebook page. Please send us a message advising of your event and we will upload to the Facebook page as well as any comments and pics from your event.
We hope your service can participate in this important event and look forward to hearing how your event goes.