Queensland Positive People (QPP) welcomes the Queensland Government’s announcement today of the official removal of AIDS from the Notifiable Conditions Schedule in Queensland.
Read Queensland Health’s Media Statement, HIV treatment stops AIDS in its tracks, here.
QPP President, Mark Counter, said that “It is a testament to modern science that people living with HIV (PLHIV) on a modern HIV treatment regimen can look forward to a life where the damage previously caused by HIV can now be well managed.”
However, he also raised a note of caution that “This does not equal the end of the HIV epidemic.”
“In addition to the new notifications of HIV transmissions every year, Queensland is also home to approximately 6,000 PLHIV and each of us will continue to need specialist care to remain well.”
Apart from HIV treatment, PLHIV often experience multiple co-morbidities, and at an earlier age than the general population.
“For PLHIV like myself who have been living with HIV for over 30 years, dealing with multiple HIV-related diseases is commonplace. HIV management really has become the easier part,” Mr Counter said.
Executive Officer of QPP, Simon O’Connor, agreed.
“While some of the historic challenges facing our organisation in relation to HIV treatments are thankfully reducing, new challenges for QPP in relation to an ageing PLHIV population are escalating. Unlike southern states, PLHIV in Queensland are spread widely across rural and remote areas, and this will present Queensland and QPP with major challenges as the population continues to age,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Keeping PLHIV abreast of their earlier risks of diabetes; heart disease; osteoporosis; liver disease; and a variety of other co-morbidities now represent a newer and very significant challenge. In addition to PLHIV taking full advantage of the improvements in treatments to achieve undetectable levels of viral load, it is also vitally important that they undergo regular health checks to prevent early onset of other related diseases,” he said.
Accordingly, QPP is focusing its attention on the aged care sector to make sure that PLHIV who have lived through the most difficult part of the epidemic do not face any further discrimination from an unprepared aged care sector. “We still have lots of work to do in this space,” Mr O’Connor said.
QPP, through generous ongoing support from Queensland Health and many other valued partners, has been providing care and support to people living with HIV in Queensland for almost 30 years. QPP is committed to ongoing relevance and innovation to ensure that services continue to improve the quality of life for those living with and affected by HIV.
QPP President QPP Executive Officer