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Grassroots HIV organisations receive $140,000 funding boost

Grassroots HIV organisations receive $140,000 funding boost

Media release, 10 March 2016

Seven Australian HIV organisations have received a share in $143,200 worth of funding through ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Community Grants – Australia (PACG – Australia), a programme to support and boost the innovative grassroots action of non-government organisations .

The grant recipients were shown to deliver support, and interventions, to communities most vulnerable to HIV, and involving people living with HIV (PLHIV) in a meaningful way.

Around 27,000 Australians live with HIV, with around 1,000 new cases of HIV diagnosed in the country in 20141 – increasing from 724 in 19992.

The inaugural PACG – Australia were awarded to seven Australian organisations effecting the most change in unique sections within the broader HIV community.

ViiV Healthcare Australia Country Manager Michael Grant said the grant recipients were selected for their pioneering approach to addressing individual issues facing the various community groups affected by HIV in Australia.

“HIV has many faces in Australia, which means the challenges these groups experience is different, and therefore the response and solutions need to be different,” Mr Grant said.

“From tackling ageing with HIV, to supporting women and people from ethnic minorities living with the condition, PACG – Australia recognises the diversity of challenges facing Australians living with HIV. As a company 100% focused on HIV, we are proud to support these organisations making meaningful change to people living with HIV now, and into the future.”

The list of recipients in full are:

  • Queensland Positive People for the establishment of a peer navigation program aimed at improving early treatment uptake
  • Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations for the establishment of a National African Australian HIV Network
  • Positive Life NSW to provide vocational training and mentoring to people living long-term with HIV
  • ACON for a trial program aimed at communication with young gay and bisexual men in rural and regional NSW
  • Positive Women Victoria for a retreat for Positive Women to connect with each other in a safe environment
  • Victorian AIDS Council for the development of a podcast series covering issues relevant to people living with HIV.

In addition to this, one innovative organisation tackling one of the newer challenges of HIV is PACG – Australia recipient WA AIDS Council, who launched a pilot program last year to educate and train aged care workers in best practice care of PLHIV.

Lisa Tomney , WA AIDS Council Manager – Clinical Services, said the program eases the concerns PLHIV have about entering aged care.

“Not all PLHIV request support from WAAC at an individual level, so we must ensure that we put in place forms of systemic advocacy to ensure that the services, support and care that they are receiving is best practice, inclusive, non-judgemental and non-stigmatising,” Ms Tomney said.

“We found many aged care workers hadn’t had any training updates in HIV patient care for 15-20 years, indicating the training is definitely needed before the influx of PLHIV entering aged care.”

In the next five to ten years there will be a significant increase in the number of PLHIV entering aged care, as a result of the fantastic improvements in HIV treatment.

PACG – Australia will help increase the reach of the program by boosting awareness of the program and supporting the development of digital resources.

Full list of PACG – Australia recipients: Queensland Positive People; WA AIDS Council; Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations; Positive Life NSW; ACON; Positive Women Victoria; Victorian AIDS Council.

References: 
1. ‘HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia’. Annual Surveillance Report 2015. Available at http://kirby.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/hiv/resources/ASR2015_v4.pdf. Access on 22 February 2016. 
2. University of New South Wales: ‘HIV in Australia Annual Surveillance Report 2014 Supplement’. Available at https://kirby.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/hiv/resources/HIVASRsuppl2014_online.pdf Accessed on 11 February 2016.