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National Association of People with HIV Australia    Positive Life NSW   


“I’m HIV Positive”:
courageous words for anyone

18 November 2015

The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) and Positive Life NSW (PLNSW) congratulate Charlie Sheen for his disclosure on US television that he is living with HIV.

It has taken courage for Mr Sheen to come out as HIV-positive, just as it does for any of the estimated 28,000 Australians living with the virus.

Mr Sheen’s disclosure has the potential to help others in similar situations and raise awareness in the general population about transmission risk and how to live a healthy and productive life, whilst managing the infection.

We believe that Mr Sheen’s disclosure needs to be embraced and accepted globally, without sensationalising the disclosure and potentially stigmatising people living with HIV or those at high risk of viral acquisition.

The social shame associated with HIV continually demonstrates concrete negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health, and this fuels HIV transmissions. 

People at risk of HIV need to know their HIV status, test regularly, and if they receive a positive HIV diagnosis commence immediate treatment. Taking control of their health by managing HIV will assist greatly in ending HIV in Australia.

Today, HIV is a chronic manageable infection and can be successfully supressed and managed through maintaining engagement with health services and remaining adherent to anti-retroviral treatments. Through effective treatment, people living with HIV can achieve viral suppression and the risk of onward transmission is virtually impossible. 

For assistance in reporting appropriately on HIV, journalists should refer to the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations HIV Media Guide.

Aaron Cogle, NAPWHA Executive Director – (02) 8568 0301 or email
Craig Cooper, Positive Life CEO – mobile 0422 509 200 or email
Positive Life NSW is a NSW-wide community based HIV advocacy and support not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation. We work to promote a positive image of people living with HIV and aim to eliminating prejudice, isolation, stigma and discrimination. We provide information and referrals; advocate for the needs and rights of PLHIV in NSW.
The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) is Australia’s peak non-government organisation representing community-based groups of people living with HIV (PLHIV).
Copyright © 2015 Positive Life NSW All rights reserved.

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