Community bands together to strike out stigma for Red Ribbon Appeal on World AIDS Day

GOOD CAUSE: Emmanuel Ndayisaba, Sean Gooding, Tyson Arapali, Janine Sutton,  Sally-Anne Brennan, Julie Gain, Denise Newman and Tina Pollard hit the lanes for awareness. Picture: Laura Hardwick
GOOD CAUSE: Emmanuel Ndayisaba, Sean Gooding, Tyson Arapali, Janine Sutton, Sally-Anne Brennan, Julie Gain, Denise Newman and Tina Pollard hit the lanes for awareness. Picture: Laura Hardwick

Nothing says community spirit like a team session on the tenpins and last Friday was no exception. 

More than 30 people gathered at Wagga Bowl to raise awareness on World AIDS Day, tackling stigma one lane at a time.

“There’s so much misunderstanding in the community,” Red Ribbon Appeal spokesperson Sally-Anne Brennan said. 

“We just want people to be aware and be supportive.”

It comes after the latest NSW HIV Strategy Data Report showed 44 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV in the first nine months of this year were diagnosed at a late stage of infection.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District HIV and Related Programs Unit (HARP) Manager Alison Nikitas said the chronic condition was still manageable

“People who may be at risk of HIV are encouraged to get tested,” she said.

“Once a person is diagnosed, they can start treatment to improve their health and prevent the virus from being passed on to others.”

The report highlights that while most new HIV infections reported in January to September this year were in homosexually active men (73 per cent), heterosexual exposure accounted for 22 per cent of all newly reported infections. 

The new data also shows that more than one-third (37 per cent) of HIV diagnoses were made by GPs.