Emil Cañita named Community Champion for outstanding advocacy and community building

To celebrate the individuals helping to better educate others on HIV and break down stigma, the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) and Gilead Sciences Australia and New Zealand have launched the 2021 Community Champions. For making a remarkable difference in supporting those with HIV, Emil Cañita (he/she/they), Peer Navigator and GenNext Coordinator at Living Positive Victoria, has been named a Community Champion.

Emil plays a pivotal and inspirational role in building strong positive Asian communities to combat inequities in HIV health and quality of life, working determinately towards de-stigmatising HIV and supporting people living with HIV. As a Filipino-Australian, Emil is fiercely dedicated to supporting people living with HIV to navigate critical services and intersectional identities. They skillfully unpack complex systems of structural, interpersonal and internalised stigma. 

“Thank you to Eloise Montero of NAPHWA for their support and recognition of my work,” says Emil. “Their tireless effort to highlight the issues and realities of the Bi+/Pan communities in our movement continues to be a source of inspiration for me as we address the equity issues experienced by our diverse HIV community. I would also like to thank all of my previous mentors, along with Richard Keane and Sara Graham for both of their leadership and for creating a culture at LPV that allows us to discover our fullest potential. This award is for all Positive Asians in Australia. I’m looking forward to working alongside all of you to address the issues that directly affect us.”

Living Positive CEO Richard Keane says, “Emil is a true HIV activist who calls our community leadership to action in demonstrating evidence and accountability on equity, diversity and inclusion. He creates an enabling environment for community connection and magnifies the voices and issues that impact young people and the ever-diversifying Asian MSM Diaspora living with and affected by HIV in 2021. These voices are far too often lost within the white noise at every level of the decision making processes that affect the lives of all PLHIV.  He is a worthy recipient of this community award and a highly valued member of TEAM LPV.

Learn more about NAPWHA and Gilead Sciences Australia’s Community Champions here.