Free HIV testing for regional Queenslanders

QUEENSLANDERS living in regional areas will have access to free HIV testing in a new initiative being rolled out across the state.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg launched the initiative in Brisbane today as part of AIDS Awareness Week.

"Last year 206 Queenslanders were diagnosed with HIV infection, the highest figure since HIV figures were officially recorded in Queensland," he said.

"The increased rate of infection is why the government has made a commitment to elevate HIV/AIDS as a priority health issue.

"The 'E.N.D. H.I.V.' campaign recognises HIV as a major health issue and aims to break down barriers that still surround the disease."

Mr Springborg said the newly formed HIV Foundation Queensland will be launched on World AIDS Day this Sunday. (Dec 1)

"The foundation will provide advice to the State Government on HIV/AIDS strategy, facilitate and promote research and ensure Queensland leads the nation's fight to 'E.N.D. H.I.V.'," he said.

"The foundation will also monitor Queensland's nation-leading free, point-of-care, rapid HIV testing program which has already reached 500 untested and most at risk Queenslanders since June."

Parliament House, the Story Bridge, QPAC and Conrad Treasury will all turn red this week as part of AIDS Awareness Week to support the estimated 35 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide