The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) recently released a snapshot of HIV in Australia. It not only highlights HIV statistics such as prevalence, but also describes the response that include Peer Education and more recent medical breakthroughs in HIV prevention.

Living Positive Victoria continues to work closely with local and national agencies and community groups, to play a key role in Australia’s response to the HIV epidemic. While we aim to develop the physical and psychological wellbeing of PLHIV, we must continue to remain vigilant in addressing the stigma and discrimination that still continues to affect many PLHIV. We do this by focusing on the following areas:

  • Our partnership with AIDS Council of New South Wales (ACON) and the Disclosure Project narrates the lived experiences from a diverse group of PLHIV including women, gay men, heterosexual communities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.
  • The ‘ENUF’ stigma campaign encourages people to name and challenge HIV stigma as it occurs, and pledge support to see an end to discrimination of all PLHIV.
  • Training PLHIV to become speakers within the Positive Speakers Bureau which educates the wider community about HIV related issues.

So what involvement does PLHIV have in HIV prevention? As part of our health promotion program, peer education remains a key focus in the delivery of our workshops and groups. We acknowledge the importance of the ‘Greater and Meaningful Involvement of People with HIV’ (GIPA/MIPA) by ensuring that the capacity of ‘HIV peers’ is developed in order to deliver programs such as Phoenix and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI). These are developed for people with HIV by people with HIV.

In addition, educating the community about medical treatments including Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP) are two key elements that form the basis of campaigns such as ‘Double Happiness’ and ‘Treat HIV Now’. Together, TasP and PrEP complement each other and add to the true meaning of ‘Combination Prevention’ which of course includes more traditional tools such as condoms.

Living Positive Victoria has and will continue to play an integral role in ensuring a world where people living with HIV live their lives to their full potential, in good health and free from discrimination, thereby contributing to the Seventh National HIV Strategy goal of eliminating HIV transmission by 2020 of ‘Ending HIV’.