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As part of Melbourne’s International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM), streaming online on Sunday 16 May 2021, we invited our Keynote Speakers, Professor Suzanne Crowe AM, one of Australia’s leading HIV clinician and researcher, and Judith Gorst, a long-time HIV Nurse, Counsellor and Family Therapist, who’ve worked together during the genesis of Australia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic to reflect on their time working at Fairfield Hospital’s Ward 4.

Fairfield Hospital’s Ward 4 was also known as the AIDS ward from the 1980s to the mid-90s. Housing and caring for countless men, women, families and communities affected by the grips of a deathly virus. Since the first media report of an unknown virus in Sydney Star in July 1981, our Australian community has lost a total of 6,845 people to AIDS.

In this article, we captured some of the fears and lessons both women shared, at a time when the HIV virus was crippling our families and communities.

 

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