The WA AIDS Council is a non-government organisation committed to the HIV response in Western Australia. Established in 1985, the Council leads the Western Australian community in the provision of a wide range of services in the prevention of HIV, sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses, and the treatment and care of people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Council provides counselling, wellness, referral, general and financial assistance to people living with HIV; needle and syringe exchange programs; professional training and development for health sector workers and a range of support and prevention education services to target audiences at risk of HIV, sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne virus transmissions.
As a sexual and BBV health promotion organisation that provides support and information beyond HIV, we receive guidance from vital and relevant associated sexual health and blood-borne virus strategies, including the Second National Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy (2014-2017); the Third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy (2014-2017); the WA Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Strategy 2015–2018; and the WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus (BBV) Strategy 2015–2018.
The WA AIDS Council was established in 1985, in the midst of the global hysteria surrounding a largely misunderstood disease. A small group of compassionate, caring and brave citizens worked tirelessly so that HIV positive people could live and pass on with dignity, at a time when the general community was terrified.
Home care was provided for people with AIDS; people were assisted with shopping or had nutritious meals cooked for them; people participated in support groups and met other people who were going through shared experiences.
The WA AIDS Council provides a wide range of services to people living with or at risk of HIV and AIDS.
The Clinical Services team provides a range of health enhancement programs for people living with HIV. Practical and emotional support is offered via counselling, peer support, workshops, social networking activities, forums and complementary therapies. Clinical Services are sensitive and responsive to the needs of a broad range of communities, including diverse backgrounds and sexualities.
The Council has built a strong rapport with community leaders and members from a range of cultures, religions and backgrounds that add to the colourful panorama of WA. The main focus of this work is to develop the capacity of key community groups, networks and individuals to influence appropriate responses to HIV, sexual health and related health issues.
The WA AIDS Council operates a needle and syringe exchange program to provide clean equipment for injecting drug users. The Needle and Syringe Exchange Program provides a harm minimisation service for people to be able to access clean ejecting equipment in exchange for their used needles and syringes. The program includes two fixed sites and a mobile van that visits seven other locations across the Perth metropolitan region. The service also provides access to information, print resources and referrals to the clients.
In its 30th year, the WA AIDS Council will be working towards some new and exciting fundraising activities, in order to sustain and expand on the work that we do.
Since the discovery of HIV and AIDS in the early 1980s much has changed and incredible work has been done, but there is much left to do. An estimated 35 million people have died from the disease, and the same number of people are currently living with the virus, with hundreds of thousands of new cases diagnosed each year.
In Western Australia, rates of new infections continue to climb, and almost all of these are from sexual encounters. The safer sex message is as important as ever when the mobility of populations continues to improve. Delivering this message is made possible by a team of around 160 volunteers, who are vital to the organisation in achieving its mission.