Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4205..
MS PORTER (continuing):
Principal Committee, which in turn reports to the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council.
Given increases in HIV diagnoses in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales over recent years, the new blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections subcommittee is looking into what states and territories have been doing in response to these concerning increases. In particular, the subcommittee is interested in what may have contributed to recent success in New South Wales in reversing this trend while HIV notifications continue to increase in Victoria and Queensland. It is thought the situation might be due to a strategy that New South Wales is applying in raising awareness.
A lot of activities are undertaken in the ACT and around the country to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, to prevent the transmission of HIV, and to provide care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, stigma and discrimination are still faced by many people living with HIV/AIDS or at risk of HIV. Obviously, more work needs to be done to minimise such discrimination, especially through awareness raising and retelling the stories of ordinary people who live with HIV and AIDS every day. We can all help to reduce stigma and discrimination by reaching out to the community and raising community awareness of the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. Of course, part of breaking down the stigma is getting the community involved in working with those who live with HIV/AIDS.
I am sorry that I do not have any more up-to-date figures, but in the 2005-06 period volunteers working for the AIDS Action Council worked a total of 231 hours giving care and support to people living with HIV/AIDS. According to the AIDS Action Council, this includes volunteers engaged in care and support activities across the agency. I will read from information provided to me by the AIDS Action Council:
... there is significant volunteer involvement in other activities including: education, public events, fundraising, policy development, governance and organisational administration and support.
The AIDS Action Council describes some of the care and support services provided by volunteers. It says:
Services provided included home services for people living with HIV/AIDS—lawnmowing, gardening, ironing and food preparation on a routine basis for clients, for seriously ill clients and for clients after discharge from hospital. Other support included assistance at Peer Support Network (PSN) dinners, companionship, furniture removal and transport to medical and other appointments.
It also says that during 2005-06:
the volunteers had the opportunity to volunteer ... in eighteen different types of jobs. This ranged from packing over 10000 safe sex packs, making many hundreds of red ribbons, client support, reception, cooking, World AIDS Day, Fairday, and International AIDS Candlelight Memorial.