Cipri Martinez heads up NAPWHA

Cipri Martinez 1 (2)

Local HIV/AIDS advocate Cipriano Martinez has been elected president of the National Association of People Living with HIV Australia (NAPWHA). It’s the first time someone from Western Australia has held the role.  The state’s NAPWHA representatives are Paul Baines and Izaac Buckley

Speaking to OUTinPerth on World AIDS Day Martinez said stigma remained a big challenge for people living with HIV but the community was also excited about many new advances in treatments and research.

“Some of the big issues remain the same like reducing stigma” Martinez said, “but we also have the START trial that showed that it’s best to start treatments as soon as someone is diagnosed and we’re also very focused this year on making sure that PrEP treatment occurs in Australia.”

“We have lots of people who are in poz/neg relationships and partners that would really appreciate the opportunity to be on PrEP and being able to reduce their anxieties and have more confidences are in their lives.”

PrEP is a new treatment that allows HIV negative people to take a daily pill that dramatically reduces the chance of them contracting the virus.

Martinez said that while the LGBTIQ community had been learning a lot about PrEP there was still a challenge in getting all of society up to speed. Martinez praised the work of Lavina Crooks, President of the Australian Society of HIV Medicine for acknowledging that people with an undetectable viral load are not infectious.

“It is taking time for people to modernise their views around HIV, but it is 2015 and we know that pills not only work to assist people who positive to become non-infectious but for those people who are negative they can take some pills as well and they can protect themselves fully, and that’s an exciting time.” Martinez said.

“It means for the first time everyone has the capacity to end this epidemic together.”

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