News

Queensland HIV patients hide in fear of discrimination

Darryn Smith

FEAR of stigma and discrimination is forcing many regional and rural Queenslanders with a serious illness to boycott local health services.

Health experts told APN Newsdesk many HIV-positive locals refused to get their medications from the region's chemists because they were scared of being outed as having the disease.

They also hid their HIV status from local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals for the same reason.

In July, the Federal Government made it possible for HIV-positive people to collect their antiretroviral therapy medications from community pharmacies.

Before that, the scripts could only be filled by hospital chemists.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia spokesman Greg Turnbull said privacy was in the forefront of PGA members' minds.

"The guild is aware of understandable concerns about privacy associated with these medicines," Mr Turnbull said.

"People should be aware that they can talk to their pharmacist confidentially and ask for a conversation to take place in a private space where appropriate."

Dr Darren Russell, the State Government medic charged with leading Queensland's response to HIV, said a 24-month region-focused campaign was paying dividends with more people being tested for the disease.

"We've had the biggest HIV awareness campaign that Queensland has ever seen," Dr Russell said.

"Last year, we saw a 36% increase in testing amongst gay men."

Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick called on the community to treat people with HIV with respect.

"It is vitally important people with HIV feel safe, respected and accepted in our communities," Mr Dick told APN Newsdesk.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said she was "disappointed and concerned" that HIV-positive residents did not feel comfortable.

"Everyone, no matter where, should feel comfortable to visit their local health professional without stigma or discrimination," Ms Ley said.

Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations executive director Rob Lake said he was not surprised people were scared.

"One of the things we know is that there are people who will go to another town to see a GP, particularly in smaller towns," Mr Lake said.

"People might be concerned because others might hear something," he said.

Topics:  discrimination, fear, hiv, queensland, stigma



Fisherman has "better solution" than $300,000 erosion fix

Tannum Sands man Chris Faux is happy he is getting his Wild Cattle Creek beach back but would like the sand to be dredged from Boyne River.

Tannum Sands residents will finally get their beach back

Gladstone coaches, teams, helped Welch make it to Storm

John, Brendan, Christian and Terry Welch after Melbourne Storm won last week.

Welch credits his Gladstone coaches, teams for his success.

Snake catchers offer free info session after near-fatal taipan bite

HOOKED: Lachlan Gilding and Max Jackson will promote snake safety to Agnes Water next week.

A free snake awareness session at Agnes Water this Monday.

Local Partners

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E6: Suckas Need Bodyguards review

Rosario Dawson and Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E5: Just To Get A Rep review

Mahershala Ali, centre, in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E4: Step In The Arena review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

'Flex muscles': Gladstone suburb drops $120K

BUYERS are scooping unprecedented deals by “flexing their muscles at the table”

Few bright lights for property after mining downturn

The Gladstone Regional Council wants associated LNG companies like Bechtel to be apart of the EIS housing accommodation strategy from the outset of the projects and not mid-way through.

Tannum Sands continues to write its own property success story

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'