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World AIDS Day: Getting to Zero

World AIDS Day takes place every year on 1 December. This morning in Adelaide it started with a breakfast at the Art Gallery of South Australia where Judith Cross, CEO at Relationships Australia (SA) launched the World AIDS Day art exhibition.

In her speech, Judith spoke about World AIDS Day and emphasized the importance of promoting safe sex practices, increasing the use of testing, implementing strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of people who are HIV positive and addressing discrimination and prejudice, one of the major challenges in tackling this important global public health problem (you can read her full speech by clicking here).

The breakfast kick starts a week of events and activities in South Australia centred around the global theme: Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.

World AIDS Day aims to:

  • reduce the number of new HIV notifications by making sure people understand how the virus is spread and what they can do to protect themselves and their sexual partners
  • prevent further spread and break down the barriers of discrimination that people living with HIV commonly face

The local and international artists featured in the exhibition embedded these aims in their artwork to create meaningful and relevant messages.

Louis Bullock was one of the artists who attended the World AIDS Day breakfast. His design was chosen as the face for the World AIDS Day campaign organised by Gay Men’s Health SA.

“The piece features two figures — simplified as to not be biased to any gender affected — in an intimate closeness, to show the relationship, not the stigma, and to remind the viewer that HIV prevention starts with the relationship,” Louis commented.

The artwork was well-received by attendees at the launch and can be seen around Adelaide on bus shelters, at the Adelaide Oval and on coffee cups distributed by Funk Coffee and Food this week.

The launch was also attended by special guests the Honourable Steph Key MP (member for Ashford) representing the Premier, the Honourable Jay Weatherill MP and the Minster for Health, the Honourable Jack Snelling MP, the Honourable Ian Hunter MLC and Adelaide City Councillor, Robert Simms representing the Lord Mayor Martin Haese.

Many South Australian organisations are involved in World AIDS Day in South Australia, including SA Health, Positive Life SA, ShineSA, Pilgrim Church, the Aboriginal Health Council, FEAST, ANZ, Funk Coffee and Food, Adelaide Oval, the Art Gallery of South Australia and Radio Adelaide.

The range of organisations involved is significant as the COAG Health Council AIDS 2014 Legacy Statement – which has been signed by Federal and State Ministers – states that ending HIV can only be achieved through partnerships with key affected communities and sector organisations. These partnerships aim to remove barriers to accessing HIV testing, treatment, prevention, care and support across regulatory, policy, social, political and economic domains.

The Kirby Institute reported that new diagnoses of HIV in Australia increased by 10 percent in 2012 to 1,253, the largest number in 20 years. The battle to end HIV is far from over. Awareness about HIV is still important as the community moves toward getting to zero.

Get Involved

There are many events happening around South Australia this week and we encourage you to get involved. One of the most accessible will be at Adelaide Oval, as it is lit up red in support of World AIDS Day starting tonight. Other ways to get involved include:

  • Wearing a red ribbon – the international symbol of HIV awareness and support
  • Visiting the What’s On page to see a list of events happening in South Australia
  • Visiting the art exhibition in person at Pilgrim Church, 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide – on display Monday to Friday between 12 – 2pm until 12 December
  • Viewing the online gallery and sharing your favourite artwork
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