Wear It Purple Day: Still Here, Still Human
Young people living with HIV want to recognise and honour those who came before them – and they want their unique experience to be recognised. The Wear it Purple Day theme for 2022 is ‘Still Here, Still Human’, and we want to take this opportunity to recognise the experience of our younger queer community members.
“The successes of the Australian HIV response mean that relatively few young people aged 18-29 are living with HIV in Australia. This means that young people living with HIV risk being overlooked as a distinct group for services and health promotion. Their age and different stage of life can also mean that they feel isolated from older people living with HIV.”
Young + Positive study asks us, are we doing enough to support young people living with HIV?
This study reveals some of the ways young positive people navigate sex and relationships, experience health and ill-health, as well as highlighting link between frequent changes in housing arrangements and interruptions to HIV care. Young people with HIV can feel overlooked in a policy context that focuses on the elimination agenda, and can feel unrecognised by the services and events that cater to HIV positive communities. As we know, community and connection can play an important role in living well with HIV. Whether we are young or old, are recently diagnosed or have been HIV+ for a while, we are all entitled to living well.
Wear it Purple strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people. So where can you find community if you’re young, queer, and HIV+ in Victoria?
The GenNext program is a social group for young people living with HIV. At Living Positive Victoria we are committed to supporting and creating services that empower the health and wellbeing of Victoria’s diverse HIV community – including young people. When we talk about young people we recognise that the needs and experiences of emerging generations are different from those who came before them, especially when it comes to people living with HIV. As a young person it can be hard to engage with communities and organisations especially if you don’t see yourself represented in them.
We want to create a welcoming environment where everyone has an opportunity to have their voice and needs heard. We understand that young people living with HIV have grown up and receive their diagnosis in a completely different context from a lot of other people in the community. No one knows what you’re going through better than someone who’s also had that experience. Gen Next aims to connect young people who have similar stories and build meaningful relationships.
We welcome people from all backgrounds inclusive of all genders and sexualities. It’s a safe and confidential space where you can meet other young people 30 and under. We catch up regularly and talk about things like disclosure, sex and relationships or anything else at monthly discussion nights and events.
The photo for this article was taken at the Living Positive Victoria stall at RMIT Consent Week on 04/08/2022, which we attended thanks to the RMIT University Student Union Queer Department.