New grants awarded to com­mu­nity-led pro­grams tar­get­ing HIV tough­est chal­lenges Pos­i­tive Ac­tion Com­mu­nity Grants

Q Magazine - - Q Community -

ViiV Health­care, the global spe­cial­ist HIV com­pany, has awarded over $148,000 in fund­ing grants in 2018 for vi­tal com­mu­nity-led pro­grams that aim to im­prove the health lit­er­acy of peo­ple with HIV (PWHIV) in Aus­tralia.

ViiV Health­care's Pos­i­tive Ac­tion Com­mu­nity Grants (PACG) will en­able the four win­ning or­gan­i­sa­tions, Queens­land Pos­i­tive Peo­ple, Pos­i­tive Life NSW, Open Doors Youth Ser­vice and The Bobby Goldsmith Foun­da­tion, to ad­dress the shift­ing needs of PWHIV, through in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions that com­bat bar­ri­ers to di­ag­no­sis, long-term treat­ment and care.

“Poor HIV health lit­er­acy can pre­vent peo­ple with HIV, or those at risk of HIV, from re­ceiv­ing much needed care. At ViiV Health­care, we be­lieve that so­lu­tions to these chal­lenges and oth­ers faced by PWHIV, should be de­vel­oped and led by the com­mu­nity. We're there­fore proud to of­fer grants to lo­cal HIV or­gan­i­sa­tions to en­able pro­grams that en­gage and de­liver sup­port in an ef­fec­tive and cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner. We are con­fi­dent these pro­grams will make a real, last­ing and pos­i­tive im­pact on Aus­tralia's HIV com­mu­nity,” said Michael Grant, Coun­try Man­ager, ViiV Health­care.

Al­though Aus­tralia has made sig­nif­i­cant progress in its fight against HIV, it is es­ti­mated ap­prox­i­mately 20 per cent of peo­ple di­ag­nosed with HIV are not re­ceiv­ing the care they need. With the HIV pop­u­la­tion in Aus­tralia chang­ing, new ap­proaches are re­quired to en­gage and sup­port PWHIV.

In Queens­land, al­though preva­lence of HIV re­mains low amongst Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der (A&TSI) peo­ple, the num­ber of new cases in­creased by 30% be­tween 2012 – 2016, mak­ing them one of the fastest grow­ing at-risk groups of HIV in Aus­tralia. The in­crease in di­ag­no­sis prompted Queens­land Pos­i­tive Peo­ple to re­think how they could col­lab­o­rate with a wide range of stake­hold­ers in A&TSI health to de­liver cul­tur­ally sen­si­tive health­care ser­vices.

Also in Queens­land, Open Doors Youth Ser­vice was awarded a PACG grant for a so­cial mar­ket­ing cam­paign to im­prove HIV test­ing lit­er­acy in gen­der vari­ant and sex­ual di­verse (GVSD) young peo­ple.

“We are see­ing a grow­ing num­ber of young peo­ple re­ject the tra­di­tional la­bels of gen­der and sex­ual iden­tity and as a re­sult, cur­rent HIV and sex­ual health ser­vices may not meet their needs. Poor sex­ual health lit­er­acy and lim­ited knowl­edge of HIV means GVSD might not en­gage with HIV test­ing and we want to try and ad­dress that through our cam­paign,” said Chris Pickard, Open Doors Youth Ser­vice.

In New South Wales, grants awarded to The Bobby Goldsmith Foun­da­tion and Pos­i­tive Life NSW will pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate health ser­vices to ar­eas of high HIV preva­lence and sup­port PWHIV at risk of iso­la­tion.

“We have ev­i­dence that PWHIV are mov­ing away from In­ner Syd­ney and the delivery of HIV ser­vices has re­mained the same for 20 years. Iso­la­tion is of crit­i­cal con­cern for PWHIV and our Peer Nav­i­ga­tion pro­gram will en­hance the ex­ist­ing HIV ser­vice delivery ar­range­ment, whilst sup­port­ing PWHIV to nav­i­gate the health sys­tem at cru­cial times dur­ing their HIV treat­ment jour­ney. There­fore, em­pow­er­ing PWHIV and re­duc­ing the risk of them dis­en­gag­ing from care.” said Craig Cooper, Pos­i­tive Life NSW.

The fi­nal grant awarded to The Bobby Goldsmith Foun­da­tion will sup­port a pro­gram for PWHIV in the North­ern Rivers re­gion of NSW - one of the high­est ar­eas of HIV need in the state.

“We are thrilled to re­ceive ViiV Health­care's PACG grant en­abling us to ex­pand our Pos­i­tive Self-Man­age­ment pro­gram into the North­ern Rivers Area of NSW. Now in its fourth year, this pro­gram has been shown to im­prove the qual­ity of life, psy­cho­log­i­cal health out­comes and health lit­er­acy for PWHIV. It will im­prove ser­vice delivery for our clients with com­plex care needs in ru­ral and re­gional NSW, help­ing them to bet­ter man­age their HIV and gen­eral health,” said Nick Law­son, Bobby Goldsmith Foun­da­tion.

ViiV Health­care awards the Pos­i­tive Ac­tion Com­mu­nity Grants each year to pro­vide lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions with the re­sources they need to im­ple­ment pro­grams that re­spond to the most press­ing needs of peo­ple with HIV and re­duce the bur­den of the disease in Aus­tralia.

More in­for­ma­tion about the 2018 PACG pro­grams can be found at www.vi­ivhealth­care.com.au

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