Living Positive Victoria acknowledges David Menadue on his 70th Birthday

Everyone at TEAM LPV would like to acknowledge and send a heartfelt happy 70th birthday to David Menadue OAM.

David was a founding member of our organisation (formally known as People living with HIV/AIDS Victoria) from its conception in 1989 as a program originally part of the Victorian AIDS Council’s suite of services to meet the needs of people living with HIV and AIDS in Victoria.

Even then, there was a growing desire and determination for people who were HIV positive to speak our truth and engage in self-advocacy born from an acute understanding of the issues that impacted our lives from a lived experience perspective –  a philosophy that continues to permeate and inform our organisation to this day.

“While as CEO, I can speak to the fact that I see David as an invaluable personal mentor, teacher, friend, peer and pioneer, it’s a much deeper acknowledgement of his role in our positive voice movement I’d like to share with you all. When we think of AIDS activism, it immediately invokes visions of ACT-UP Melbourne-style actions like the famous floral clock protest of 1991, demanding that attention be drawn to a community ‘running out of time’ waiting for access to lifesaving treatments.  Powerful public and collective actions with fists, voices and banners raised for a real and genuine fear of dying. However, any keen historian reviewing the four decade long ‘positive voice’ social movement also knows that to gain long lasting change requires an additional strategic response led by those who know how to build consensus, confidence and collaboration, sometimes with the very institutions, funders and individuals, who were often the targets of an activist response. This is the real strength and the long-lasting foundational impact that David and others have had, deliberately and diligently paving a path leading to the space we occupy today. Building bridges between arms of the response, often with vastly differing ideas on how to get to where we need to be, has been central to this community-led response.” Richard Keane, CEO, Living Positive Victoria.

David’s role on the boards of People living with HIV/AIDS Victoria, The Victorian AIDS Council (now Thorne Harbour Health) – of which he is a life member and nationally on the boards of the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) and The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) in a modern context might be perceived as a conflict of interest, but in fact was indicative of resolution of conflict for the benefit of our shared mutual interest.

Many long-term survivors from the first decade of the response carry with them long-lasting effects.  We acknowledge all of the community elders upon whose shoulders we stand and whose community involvement and leadership remain central to our shared history as people living with HIV. We hope that this acknowledgement to David Menadue allows a moment, not just for him, but for all of us to feel the love and esteem in which we hold our brave and brilliant community elders.

Photo by Ivan Gaal, National Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 Finalist.

Living Positive Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.