The theme for World AIDS Awareness Week and World AIDS Day 2015 was Getting To Zero: Zero Stigma, Zero New Cases, Zero Deaths. The aim is to encourage all Australians to be aware of HIV; to take action to reduce the transmission of HIV by promoting safe sex practices; and to ensure that people living with HIV can participate fully in the life of the community, free from stigma and discrimination.
Across the week, the WA AIDS Council held several events for people living with HIV as well as events for the wider community making it the biggest World AIDS Awareness Week to date!
The week kicked off with a Morning Tea in the Park for PLHIV. This offered an opportunity for networking and reconnecting in the beautiful surrounds of Harold Boas Gardens – thankfully the weather held up. Nic Holas – HIV Activist, Writer and TIM Co-Founder – attended the event and was well received by guests.
Later that day a community forum hosted by Nic Holas, was an opportunity for Gay men and men who have sex with men to discuss PrEP. The conversation flowed freely and Nic was brilliant as the facilitator. Thank you to those who attended and contributed to a very important conversation. If you couldn’t attend, but would like to contribute, or find out more, visit the PrEPaccessNOW Facebook page.
Planet Positive, a social networking event for HIV-Positive gay men and men who have sex with men took place at one of Perth’s most popular venues. The small crowd enjoyed mingling, catching up with others as well as meeting new people.
On the morning of World AIDS Day, a record turnout of guests and Make Up Artists attended the Good Spirits Day Pamper session at the new MAC Cosmetics office in West Leederville. Held annually, this workshop provides PLHIV exclusive access to MAC Cosmetics stellar team and the opportunity to learn how to pull off the latest looks, get tips and tricks, and have make up problems solved one on one. For MAC lovers both male and female, this is a fantastic opportunity not to be missed!
"It's Not Over" Premiere film screening. The Council did something a little different this year to mark World AIDS Day. Rather than hosting an event at the AIDS Memorial on the outskirts of the city, we brought World AIDS Day to the heart of Perth City in a bid to raise awareness of HIV and continue to reduce stigma and discrimination in the wider community. The film “It’s Not Over” was premiered in Perth on the Piazza Super Screen in Northbridge to a crowd of 100 people. Produced by MAC AIDS Fund tells the inspiring story of three courageous millennials from around the world who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
A volunteer team of six handed out World AIDS Day materials including red ribbons, pens and branded carry bags to the beanbag hugging crowd and passers by. In fact, we distributed more merchandise than in any other year. Not only did they hand out merchandise for people to take home, more importantly, they answered questions about HIV and AIDS to those who were curious about learning more. This is a massive win to celebrate and we thank the volunteers for being so passionate about the cause, as well as our Training and Development team for ensuring all volunteers are equipped with the latest information to respond.
Overall the response was very positive. If you missed out this year, make sure to mark December 1 in your diaries as we aim to host something similar for 2016. For those who normally attend the AIDS Memorial event on World AIDS Day, a Candlelight Vigil takes place in May. More details will be provided closer to the date.
To wrap up the week, Love Game held a Red Carpet event. Love Game is a brand developed to raise awareness of HIV within our diverse community through a variety of engaging and inclusive events. Guests enjoyed first class cuisine, a spoken word piece from Miss Africa Perth Finalist Sakhile and songs from young talents and recent StarSearch winner Modest Music, acoustic singers and songwriters 3ble Clef. Amongst guests was Janine Freeman MP for Mirrabooka and Inspector Don-Emmanuel Smith. The evening provided the platofrm to recognise and celebrate the contribution of passionate community members and their work in raising awareness of HIV. Follow Love Game for upcoming news and events.
Local Perth Station RTR FM covered topics surrounding HIV throughout the week. Have a listen to the coversations here:
Monday November 23 - Mark Reid spoke to RTRFM’s Chris Mason to talk about the week’s activities and where we’re at in 2015, and began by asking what the difference in HIV/AIDS media coverage between the 1980′s and today: Listen here
Tuesday November 24 - Writer, HIV Activist and Co-Founder of The Institute of Many (TIM) Nic Holas joined Kylie Sturgess, to talk about what PrEP is and the implications for both HIV positive and negative people into the future: Listen here