keith-harbourBorn 1.5.44  –  Died 25.8.91

Talk With Us, Not About Us

Keith Harbour was one of the Legends of Aids who inspired the idea for this exhibition. He was the leader of a number of HIV organisations, President of VAC/ GMHC from 1987 – 1989, Convenor of Support program (1986), Convenor of PLWHA Vic (1989), Secretary of AFOA (1990) and it Vice President in 1991. Keith was a man of many colours, able to be diplomatic and professional in negotiations with health bureaucrats but equally impassioned and demanding when protesting about the inequalities meted out to positive people. He was a fierce advocate, particularly during his time as president of VAC/GMHC for the inclusion of positive people and their views in all of the work of the organisation.

Keith coined the phrase ”Talk with us, not about us” to help change the view he felt was held by some service providers that positive people should be passive recipients of services rather than actively involved in their care and support planning.

Keith was arrested at an ACT-Up demonstration on the steps of the Victorian parliament house in 1990 protesting about the lack of access to HIV drugs – but he was also later shown establishment approval for his efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS with the presentation of the Order of Australia medal by the governor of Victoria in a special ceremony convened at Keith’s bedside at Fairfield Hospital in the last weeks of his life. Keith was one of AIDS heroes – a person who has inspired many activists and supporters of the cause, and intelligent and articulate advocate for positive people who will be remembered for his contribution for many years to come.

Photo courtesy of Satellite Group Limited