Third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy: 2010–2013

5.5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living with HIV and viral hepatitis

Page last updated: July 2010

In Australia approximately 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are diagnosed with HIV, approximately 28 000 with chronic hepatitis B and approximately 16 000 with chronic hepatitis C. The diversity of the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living with HIV and viral hepatitis is noted. Accordingly, the importance of providing the best possible advocacy, support and information dissemination to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living with HIV and viral hepatitis is supported. The role that they play in shaping Australia’s overall response is recognised.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living with BBVs, their partners, carers, friends, families and children have complex needs, including the right to confidentiality of their health status. Fear and misunderstanding about BBVs exist in many communities, often resulting in social discrimination and isolation. In such circumstances, the potential for self harm through alcohol and drug use, as well as other behaviours, is present and consideration needs to be given to co-morbidities such as mental health problems.