Ayman Barbaresco from the AIDS Council of NSW proudly displays the AIDS Memorial Quilt
Ayman Barbaresco from the AIDS Council of NSW proudly displays the AIDS Memorial Quilt

AIDS quilt display



A MEMORIAL quilt marking World AIDS Day and Awareness Week hangs proudly on display at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

The quilt, which will be on display until tomorrow, was designed and made by the lovers, families and friends of people who have died from HIV/AIDS.

Mid North Coast Area Health Service's area manager HIV/Infectious Diseases, Jenny Heslop said this year's theme was Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS.

"Although women are a minority of the HIV population, those affected by HIV constantly face discrimination, shame and loneliness," Ms Heslop said.

"The biggest challenge we have on the Mid North Coast is fostering understanding and acceptance of people living with HIV/AIDS, including women and girls."

There are approximately 1150 women in Australia living with HIV/AIDS, but it has also impacted women as carers for people living with the disease.

"The Mid North Coast of NSW shares a responsibility to challenge the HIV epidemic by providing education, support, medical treatment and care of those infected or affected by the virus," Ms Heslop said.

Also announced yesterday was that Australia would provide $2 million to assist in the global fight against HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region.

The funding will go to three local organisations instrumental in the domestic fight against HIV/AIDS.

Announcing the funding on World AIDS Day, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the organisations would work in partnership with Australia's official aid program.

Under the new partnerships, Australia would help regional programs boost safety and knowledge of healthcare workers, as well as boosting surveillance and diagnostic facilities.

AIDS experts are warning of the growing threat of HIV/AIDS in the Asian region.

As a result, the government has boosted its commitment to the regional fight against the disease by $350 million, taking funding for a six-year program to $600 million.

About 13,600 Australians live with HIV/AIDS, and the disease has claimed more than 6300 Australian lives over the past two decades.

The rate of new HIV/AIDS notifications dropped slightly in 2004.



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