March 9, 2019 will be the second National Day of Women Living with HIV. Coming the day after International Women’s Day, this awareness-raising day was created by Femfatales, a network of women living with HIV of the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA).
“We are aiming to create a greater awareness of the needs of women living with HIV in Australia, “said Femfatales Chair, Katherine Leane. “It’s hard to believe that in 2017 some people don’t think that there are women living with HIV in this country. But there are around 3,000 of us, or about 10 per cent of the HIV-positive population.
“Because of the perception that women are not at risk of HIV, women don’t test for it. Many women who are diagnosed with HIV here have never tested for it previously, not believing they were at risk. This can present them with serious health challenges as a late diagnosis can mean that they have developed a compromised immune system and sometimes, an AIDS-defining illness.
“On top of this, many suburban and regional GPs have never diagnosed someone with HIV, do not always recognise the symptoms or risk factors and are not sure where to refer patients for specialist care. It is very important that women diagnosed in these settings get referred to appropriate medical care and to the peer support agencies that can help people with their diagnoses.
“The more people talk about HIV, the more we encourage women to test for it, the more we will be able to diagnose and treat women appropriately. This is the aim of this special day, “said Kath. “We encourage all agencies involved with and concerned about women’s sexual health to hold a morning or afternoon tea or other event to help raise awareness of HIV agencies that support women living with and affected by HIV.”
For more details
Femfatales Convenor — Katherine Leane — 0410 707 923
NAPWHA Executive Director — Aaron Cogle — 0468 438 214
NAPWHA is Australia’s peak non-government organisation representing community-based groups of people living with HIV. NAPWHA provides advocacy, policy, representation, health promotion and outreach at a national level.