Living Positive Victoria and Positive Women Victoria Presidents Richard Keane and Sarah Feagan sign a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the response towards women living with HIV.

Living Positive Victoria and Positive Women Victoria have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will strengthen the partnership between the two organisations for the benefit of all women living with HIV across Victoria.

“Women living with HIV demonstrate a different pattern of service use to gay/bisexual men living with HIV,” said Richard Keane, President of Living Positive Victoria. “It’s vital that we expand and build on existing services that link and retain women living with HIV in care both medically and emotionally. This MoU holds us not only accountable to each other but to our members as well.”

About 10 per cent of people living with HIV in Australia are women. Along with stigma and isolation, connecting women to services is one of the biggest barriers to accessing support which this partnership hopes to address.

“For women, addressing HIV in 2017 requires a multi-layered response and one of the key factors is community and relationships with other HIV organisation,” said Sarah Feegan, President of Positive Women Victoria. “This MoU models the way we need to collaborate and deliver meaningful programs that women can access.”

The top three areas that both organisations will collaborate on are:

  • Phoenix Workshop – Together the agencies will continue to provide the only gender specific workshop for women newly diagnosed in Australia
  • Positive Speakers Bureau – Prioritising and identifying women to be trained Speakers and share the lived experience of a woman living with HIV to the broader community.
  • Peer Support – Both organisations will ensure proper resources and funding is available to peer support staff to empower participants to set goals to take ownership of their wellbeing.

The two organisations formalising this partnership to work collaboratively strengthens the HIV response, ensures women do not become invisible, and that women living with the virus are securing health, dignity, and long-term wellbeing.

“We can make a bigger impact by working together,” said Keane. “We’re pleased with this MoU and look forward to stories and testimonies on how these services helped women achieve their emotional and health goals.”

Full details of upcoming workshops and services can be found on the Living Positive Victoria website or at positivewomen.org.au.