Further efforts are needed to increase HIV testing among people and communities at risk of longstanding infection including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, according to the recently released NSW HIV Data Report July-September 2017.

In NSW, new HIV diagnoses have declined over the past six years. This is due to high uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) which is a daily medicine that prevents HIV, higher treatment rates as well as earlier commencement of treatment, and more frequent testing that leads to earlier diagnosis.

However, the report highlights the need to raise awareness of and improve access to the range of testing, treatment and prevention options available in NSW for people born overseas.

Read the report

Workforce development is an important element of our work. Our MHAHS team participated in the 2017 Sydney Local Health District HARP Workforce Development Forum recently held at the Charles Perkins Centre. Our Deputy Manager, Gai Stackpool, co-presented on Using social media to promote Dried Blood Spot HIV testing with Susan McGuckin of Pozhet and our Senior Social Workers, Donatella Cifali and Dash Gray, presented a case study highlighting the issues affecting people living with HIV who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Several MHAHS posters on viral hepatitis  and HIV were also displayed at the forum.


Gai Stackpool and Susan McGuckin co-presenting Using social media to promote Dried Blood Spot HIV testing



Dash Gray and Donatella Cifali presented a case study on HIV

The MHAHS has  launched an ethnic media campaign to support this year’s World AIDS Day campaign on 1st December.  The My Health, My right campaign will focus on the right to health and the challenges faced by people living with HIV from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in accessing HIV testing, treatment and prevention.

The campaign highlights the right of everyone, including people living with and affected by HIV to be treated with respect and dignity, according to Barbara Luisi, manager of the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service (MHAHS).

“The campaign reminds people that a person’s right to health is compromised when they are unable to  access appropriate HIV testing, prevention and treatment. Marginalized communities, such as people from diverse cultural backgrounds, are often the least able to access their right to health and they are also among the most vulnerable to HIV,” said Ms Luisi.
World Health Organisation estimates that there are about 36 million people living with HIV in the world today with about a third unaware of their HIV status. In Australia, there are 27,150 people living with HIV today with about 12% not knowing their status. About 30 per cent of new diagnoses among people from culturally diverse backgrounds are diagnosed late - meaning treatment may be less effective and the disease can be spread unwittingly.

The campaign is aimed at the sub-Saharan African, Chinese, Indonesian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese communities in NSW.
MHAHS headquarters in Camperdown became a busy hub in July with the launch of the Hep B. Could it me campaign? The campaign aimed to raise awareness of hepatitis B and promote the ASK, TEST, TREAT messages among Arabic-speaking, Chinese-speaking, Korean, sub-Saharan African and Vietnamese communities

Thousands of campaign materials distributed


More than 50 000 promotional items were distributed through community organisations, health services and businesses across the Sydney metropolitan area. The materials delivered the Hep B. Could It Be Me? message in five priority languages and included, carry bags, fridge magnets, post-it notes, wall calendars, countertop display boxes and fortune cookies. Campaign posters in Arabic, Chinese, English for sub-Saharan African communities, Korean, Vietnamese and Arabic are still available for download from our website.

DOWNLOAD POSTERS


Community forums reach hundreds around Sydney


To help spark discussion about hepatitis B, the MHAHS coordinated a series of forums in partnership with community organisations and local health districts. Held in community venues across Sydney throughout July, August and September, the forums drew hundreds of people and explored the campaign themes of ASK, TEST and TREAT. Forums were held with African, Chinese-speaking, Arabic-speaking and Vietnamese communities. Guest speakers and cultural performances provided an additional level of engagement. While some forums were conducted in community languages, interpreters were available for others. Overall, the forums proved to be highly effective in reaching diverse communities.

Community members lend support to ethnic media campaign


A key feature of the Hep B. Could it me? ethnic media campaign delivered by the MHAHS was how members of our priority communities came forward to lend their voice to promote a series of media stories on hepatitis B testing and treatment. Doctors, community leaders and people living with hepatitis B recorded messages of support and interviews to highlight how the epidemic impacts their communities and to promote the ASK, TEST, TREAT messages. Including print and online articles, advertisements, radio interviews and community service announcements, the month-long campaign was very well received by community media registering a total of 27 media pick-ups.

READ MORE

Hepb.org.au website delivers info in five languages


MHAHS teamed up with Hepatitis NSW to produce a multilingual website dedicated to the campaign and to share the ASK, TEST, TREAT messages with priority communities. The website offers vital information in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and English. It also provides links to health care professionals who specialise in hepatitis B care and to advice and support services.

VISIT hepb.org.au