Max has worked as Living Positive Victoria’s Positive Speakers Bureau Coordinator since 1999. He is constantly inspired by the HIV speakers he work with and believes there must be an ongoing community discussion about HIV.
Max has presented at local, national global conferences emphasising the importance of HIV Positive Speakers Bureaux in breaking down stigma and discrimination in the broader community. He has trained HIV positive speakers in all Eastern States of Australia and has also trained speakers in Papua New Guinea, Bali and Vienna.
Max was diagnosed in 1987 and now knows he contracted HIV in 1984. He has now lived with HIV for 30 years. He never thought HIV would happen to him. However it can happen to anyone irrespective of gender.
He was given six months to live in 1988 and all these years later, having survived HIV, AIDS and three bouts of cancer he is still here talking to you about HIV and his hopes for a future free of HIV.
Telling his parents, family and friends was very confronting – they all thought he was going to die. However they have been there for him through everything.
Medications in 1988 were horrific with terrible side effects but almost miraculously they did keep him alive until newer and more effective treatments arrived. He now hardly notices taking his medication and has very good results.
Being diagnosed with severe depression in 2005 was another incredible challenge and it took more than three years to recover with daily medication and weekly professional support.
Max feels incredibly privileged to live in Australia where he has access to the best possible treatment, care and support.