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New report provides further insight and hope into the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.

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Media Release Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

KP 48/02 22 May 2002

NEW REPORT PROVIDES FURTHER INSIGHT AND HOPE INTO THE LIVES OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS A new report focusing on the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS throughout Australia is to be used to further inform education, policy and support services to benefit their lives.

Launching the HIV Futures 3 report in Melbourne today, Federal Health Minister, Senator Kay Patterson, said the report, the third in a series of similar reports, provides a vital insight into the lives and culture of people with HIV/AIDS.

"Understanding the views and hearing the stories of positive HIV people is essential if we are to continue to respond appropriately and effectively as a Government on behalf of the community," Senator Patterson said.

"It is four years since the original HIV Futures Report was released, and this was a landmark event in illuminating the ways in which HIV positive Australians were living their lives.

"Significantly, the research that supported the original report was conducted at a time when antiviral drugs were just beginning to have an impact on the Australian HIV/AIDS landscape.

"The importance of not making assumptions as to what HIV positive people are feeling or thinking was demonstrated by the rapid evolution of views set out in successive reports," Senator Patterson said. The Minister said the third HIV Futures Report not only reflects the voices of HIV positive people, it also provides good news on a number of achievements over two years including:

The number of people reporting having stopped work or ending their careers because of the HIV positive diagnosis has halved since the last Report, from 44% down to 22%; ●

Proportion of respondents who tested positive to Hepatitis C infection fell from 17% to 14% over the past two years; and ●

Proportion of respondents reporting side-effects associated with the use of antivirals has dropped from 55%, down to 44%. ●

"Australia's response to HIV/AIDS is regarded as one of the best in the world, and this is widely credited as being due to the key involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS and other affected communities.

"I congratulate The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society for developing this insightful report which can only strengthen our national response to HIV/AIDS," Senator Patterson said.

Media Contact: Kay McNiece, Dept of Health & Ageing 0412 132 585