ViiV Healthcare works closely with communities most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Through Positive Action, we continue a legacy of pioneering initiatives that deliver education, support services and care for people living with or at risk of contracting the virus. Our Positive Action programmes are designed to find innovative and impactful ways to improve the lives of people living with HIV in the most deprived and most at-need areas of the world.
Our people play a crucial role in the strategic as well as day-to-day operation of our Positive Action programmes. Many volunteer time and energy outside of their working days to get involved in various global or local initiatives. One such person is Oonagh Rocks, who manages ViiV Healthcare Australia’s community programmes.
With a background in nursing and mental health, Oonagh has spent much of her professional life enabling better care for marginalised groups. Her last seven years have been focused on HIV, including four with ViiV Healthcare Australia. Throughout her career, Oonagh says she has taken on roles where she has the opportunity to effect positive change:
“I work where I feel I can make a difference,” she says, “For me that means working with groups that are stigmatised and discriminated against – who have to fight really hard for things others take for granted.”
For Oonagh, addressing prejudice, inequality and barriers to care in HIV includes working closely with people most affected by the disease. Taking the helm of ViiV Healthcare Australia’s community grants programme, Oonagh is charged with expanding and deepening our relationships with non-profit organisations that work closely with people at-risk or living with HIV.
“Collaborations, partnerships and community engagement are integral to the successful HIV response,” said Oonagh, “Our commitment to leave no patient behind puts ViiV Healthcare front and centre of the response in Australia. I am proud to work for ViiV Healthcare and appreciate being given an opportunity to help do good.”
With Positive Action, Oonagh works with underserved populations beyond Australia. Earlier this year, she joined the Positive Action for MSM and Transgender programme as an associate for 2015-2016.
The Positive Action MSM and Transgender Programme is a global initiative designed to support and inform the global effort to alleviate the impact of HIV and AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender populations around the world. Positive Action MSM and Transgender supports community-based projects to reduce stigma, increase access to health services and strengthen the capacity of community organisations.
As an associate, Oonagh is involved in grant decision-making, building relationships with community groups and reviewing projects in-progress. She finds a few hours in her workweek and volunteers additional time to ensure that the Positive Action MSM and Transgender programme runs smoothly and effectively.
Supporting community partnerships both locally and globally, Oonagh says her work at ViiV Healthcare fits her just right.
“Working with the community, being able to be involved, even in some small way, to the strategies that influence HIV prevention and that contribute to better quality of life and better health outcomes for people living with HIV or at risk of HIV is a truly humbling experience and affords me the opportunity to do what I can to make a difference.”
Positive Action programmes continue to be at the forefront in supporting communities most affected because of the passion, activism and dedication of people like Oonagh.
To learn more about Positive Action global programmes, check out ViiV Healthcare.