Died: 16 June 2015
Vince Christian was a strong advocate for heterosexual people living with HIV. He began his involvement with Straight Arrows in 1997 and has undertaken numerous leadership roles since that time. Vince was Chair of Straight Arrows from 2010 through to 2013 and served in other capacities on the board prior to this. Vince was a deft negotiator and led Straight Arrows thorough many challenges in his role as Chair. In addition to his time on the Straight Arrows board Vince was a Peer Support Officer, initially in a voluntary capacity and later in an employed position.
Vince earned the love and respect of the Straight Arrows family and the wider community of people living with HIV through his generous nature and his dedication to the community. He worked tirelessly supporting people living with HIV, fighting HIV stigma and building bridges between the diversity of people within the HIV community. Vince had an incredible ability to put people at ease and engage meaningfully with people from all walks of life and diverse communities. He was a master communicator. As a public speaker his honesty and passion shone through. A natural people person, Vince had an easy charm and a manner that allowed him to meet people where they were at and bridge differences
In his most recent role as Peer Support Worker Vince was committed to engaging more deeply with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and faith communities to challenge HIV stigma and provide culturally appropriate support for people living with HIV. As a person of faith he understood the important role faith-leaders play in many communities and he encouraged partnerships between faith-based institutions and service providers in preventing HIV, providing care and support for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV related stigma and discrimination. This was a passion driving his work.
Vince’s contribution to the HIV sector is not easily summed up in by his roles. One of Vince’s greatest gifts was his ability to connect with people. Being with Vince was to be truly seen. He succeeded in his role as a peer support worker as he was intuit to people’s needs and fears, building their resilience and take them on journeys to self-acceptance. His gentle strength provided both comfort and hope. His humour, even in the darkest times of his illness, shone through. He was a friend and confidant to many people who have gone on to become HIV leaders in their own right. Vince’s spirit lives on through and in the lives that he is touched.