Participate in one of our focus groups

We are excited to invite you to share your opinions surrounding the brand of the WA AIDS Council. 

These focus groups will be an essential part of the process to evolve the WAAC branding. Therefore, it is vital to have meaningful engagement from the communities that we serve.   

We will be facilitating 4 focus groups to provide you with an opportunity to share your perceptions of the existing brand, and play an important part in determining how the WAAC brand will evolve into the future. 

 If you are interested in taking part, please register your interest and availability using this link

From the team at WAAC.

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What are pronouns?

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns. Simply put, we use personal pronouns to speak about someone when they are not around or often in place of their name.

For example: Alex went to the cafe and she bought a coffee – ‘She’ is the personal pronoun in use.

We all use pronouns for ourselves and others, and these little words can indicate a lot about a person’s identity. Some people don’t give their pronouns much thought at all, while for others, pronouns can be a really important part of affirming one’s gender identity and expressing themselves to the world. Everyone gets to choose their own pronouns and to decide how they want to be referred to by others.

When you use a trans or gender diverse person’s correct pronouns, you are saying that you respect them and their identity. Using incorrect pronouns can be extremely harmful and hurtful, and shows a disregard for a person’s identity and experience. It’s ok to take some time to get used to a person’s pronouns, but it’s important that you make the effort to get them right.

The most common pronouns used in Australia are:

  • She/Her/Hers: Typically used by girls, women, or anyone else who would like these pronouns used for herself, regardless of her gender history. 

  • He/Him/His: Typically used by boys, men, or anyone else who would like these pronouns used for himself, regardless of his gender history. 

  • They/them/theirs: Typically gender neutral and used by people who are not exclusively male or female or anyone who would like these pronouns used for them, regardless of their gender history.

 

Staying Educated

There are more than just these pronouns out there, depending on geographical location, language, culture, and someone’s identity. If you want more practice or to know more about pronouns, you can go to
www.minus18.org.au/pronouns-app

 

Key tips for being a good ally

Respect the individual as the expert
Pronouns are different for each person. One non-binary person may use different pronouns to another non-binary person and that is fine. A woman or man may use they/them/theirs because it fits better and that’s fine too. Being an ally is all about respecting the individual as the expert and helping them to reinforce their pronouns to others.

Invite others to use their pronouns
Introducing yourself with your pronouns can be a great way to show that you’re an ally and invite others to do the same. You can include your pronouns on your name badge, business card, email signature, classroom whiteboard, office door, and anywhere else that you might introduce yourself.

When you make a mistake
Humans make mistakes, so don’t let this deter you from making the effort. It’s important that when you do make a mistake that you address your mistake as quickly as possible and then move on with the conversation.
The conversation may go something like this:
“Ashley came to me in my office the other day to ask about how we can organize a cake sale for Wear It Purple Day next year. He was hoping…. Sorry, they were hoping to get a group of students involved and raise money for LGBTI Mental health”.

Additionally, if you hear someone else make this mistake and not correct themselves, quickly and politely correct them, and move on “Sorry, Ashley uses they/them/their pronouns” or simply, “They, not he”. This is a big part of being an LGBTI+ ally!
If you are really finding new pronouns tricky, you can replace the pronoun with the person’s name. But it is very important to keep trying and to know that sometimes trying to get pronouns right is better than not using them at all.

Common Questions

“But isn’t using they/them/theirs grammatically incorrect?”
No. Usage of ‘singular they’ dates back to as early as the 16th Century- even Shakespeare used it! We often already use singular gender neutral pronouns for people when we do not know their gender. In fact, you might actually find that you do it without thinking:
“Someone left their jumper behind today, I hope they come back for it”, 
- Or,
“I love it when a teacher introduces themself with their pronouns”

What if they change their mind?”
Thankfully pronouns are not set in stone. Understanding one’s own gender can be tricky at times and may take time. Some people may go through a period of using a new set of pronouns but later find it still doesn’t fit quite right for them and try something else and that is ok. Remember, being a good ally is all about respecting the individual as the expert of their own gender and pronouns.

“I can’t keep up, it’s always changing, and I have better things to worry about”
If you model this behavior in your personal and work life, you are likely to contribute to an inclusive culture for everyone, and gain trust and respect from the individuals whose pronouns you are using. You also help to ensure that all people have access to an equitable society/education/workplace where they feel respected and valued.

One WA school student put it this way:
“If you can learn and teach a changing curriculum every year, you can learn and use my pronouns”

 

This content was taken from a resource created by Inclusive Education WA. To learn more about Inclusive Education WA and to access the resource (and many more), click here

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 The WA AIDS Council would like to emphasise the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV when engaging in sexual behaviours with people of unknown HIV status or people with a detectable HIV viral load.  Despite recent news reports of a person who has seroconverted despite utilising an on-demand dosage regime of the medication PrEP.  PrEP continues to be a game changer as we progress towards a future with zero new HIV transmissions.

PrEP is currently being utilised around the globe by between 455,000 and 460,000 people, and there have only been 7 situations where people who have been correctly using this medication have seroconverted.

Initial findings from the IPERGAY trial found that daily use of PrEP was a more effective method of preventing HIV, but that did not mitigate the on-demand dosing method as offering high efficacy at preventing HIV when condomless sex was occurring. These initial findings have resulted in further trials taking place in Europe (France, Belgium and Amsterdam) and interim data is suggesting on-demand dosing is effective and a legitimate method of prevention. Despite this new seroconversion while using on-demand PrEP it does not erase the thousands of people that are currently being protected from HIV through on-demand dosing, but until further information from trials is made available utilising a daily dosage method will prove most effective.

PrEP and U=U have already dramatically changed HIV statistics in Australia and paired with continued condom usage and the use of PEP in emergencies, HIV rates can and will continue to decrease significantly.

 

The team at WAAC

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Perth Article Article (002)

Our continued commitment to client services:

Our valued clients already know we are undertaking some changes to our operations here at WAAC. These are to ensure we continue driving improvements across our range of client services.

The WA AIDS Council knows that our clients rely on our engagement. This ensures the best decisions are made to influence change in their lives, to the full extent of their capacity.

If any of our clients have concerns or would like to touch base with us to find out more, you can contact us below.

Telephone: (08) 9482 0000 – Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm.

Or e-mail waac@waaids.com

 

Its official, summer has ended and with it comes the end of the Mardi Gras season. Those who are lucky (or very well organised) may have a few more days to relax and refuel after the onslaught of glitter and celebration. For others, perhaps heading back to work on a red-eye flight, the aftermath can be a bit rough. Regardless of recuperation time, there are some things everyone should consider to ensure that only fond memories of the season remain.

Mardi Gras is a combination of booze, bodies and A LOT of skin. On holidays (particularly Pride holidays) people are likely to let their hair down and be more adventurous. However you chose to celebrate, you may want to consider getting appropriately tested now that the party is over.

Keep in mind that there are window periods for STI and HIV testing: a week for chlamydia and gonorrhoea; 6 weeks for syphilis; and a minimum of 4 weeks for HIV. If you are in WA, here are some good places to get tested.

If you are concerned you may have contracted an STI while away, consider using condoms with any new partners until you get tested. And if you realise you picked up one too many souvenirs from your Mardi Gras celebration, it’s important to contact any previous sexual partners who may now be at risk.

If you don’t feel comfortable contacting your previous partners personally, Drama Down Under and Better to Know are two great websites that offer some good advice.

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FD Article 2 1

In my previous article, I wrote about progress and the drive for change.

But why? Why not be content with our achievements so far? Why not be satisfied with what we have done and content to use the same campaigns that worked in the past?

Over the years WAAC has done a great job providing services to people who are living with HIV. I’d like to put forward three strong reasons why, instead of being content, we should embrace change and strive for continual progress. This article examines the first reason: who HIV affects in 2019.

HIV in 2019

Historically, HIV was seen in the wider community as an illness that only affected ‘gay men.’ WAAC had its beginnings as an organisation in response to concerns raised by members of the LGBTIQ community.

Today, the incidence of HIV diagnosis across other (non-LGBTIQ) sections of the population have increased. According to one ABC news article, one of the factors contributing to the rising incidence of infection is the mobile nature of the WA population. For example, in Western Australia the incidence of heterosexual men who travel into parts of South East Asian or sub-Saharan Africa being diagnosed with HIV has increased. Another group within the community who is at risk of contracting HIV or STIs are international students coming to Australia to study, not fully understanding the risks they may take or where to get tested.

For this reason, we need to develop ways to communicate effectively with a range of groups within the broader community; adapting to new audiences and changing our communication strategies to resonate with anyone who is at risk of contracting HIV, not just members of the LGBTIQ community. The heterosexual man or woman, for example, who goes on holiday to places where there is a high incidence of HIV, and places themselves at risk of contracting HIV or STI’s but who considers themselves ‘low risk’ because they are straight. Or the International student who may struggle to engage in discussions about positive sexuality because their cultural and/or religious beliefs are not acknowledged in the traditional popular discourse surrounding sexual health.

These are two examples of the different groups within the general community who are being impacted by HIV in 2019.

We can keep repeating the messages that have worked in the past, or if, we believe that progress is never satisfied, we can take the risk of trying new ways of communicating. New ways of communicating to heterosexual people about their risk, new ways of communicating to culturally and linguistically diverse people of faith about their risk within a faith context. Sometimes, as we learn to communicate, we will mis-communicate. The important thing is to never be satisfied but to continue to progress, to learn, adapt and communicate to the general community and groups within the community who are at risk of HIV.

In the next article I will consider how HIV has changed and what that means for service provision and also accountability to government.

David Kernohan CEO.

FD Article 1

On Saturday 16 February, the Board held its annual planning day to talk through the future direction of the WA AIDS Council in the year ahead.

As I was listening and looking out over the Perth skyline my eye caught the new Mercedes advertising, which simply read – “Progress is never satisfied.”

This brilliant caption got me thinking about HIV and the progress that has been made over the years in terms of understanding HIV as an illness and the development of medications and treatments.

What would have happened if scientists and health professionals in the early 90’s had been satisfied with the progress they had made so far? If they stopped researching, stopped trialing new medications and treatment options? We wouldn’t enjoy the range of treatment options or PrEP or even understand the U = U concept of undetectable = untransmissible.

Despite acknowledging the successes so far, the government remains committed to further progress. Progress that will require change and adapting to new and emerging situations. In the 8th National HIV Strategy, the Commonwealth Government outlined new targets to reach by the end of 2022, such as:

  • Increasing the proportion of people living with HIV, in all priority populations, who know their diagnosis to 95%;
  • Increasing the proportion of those on treatment with an undetectable viral load to 95%;
  • Sustaining the virtual elimination of HIV among sex workers, among people who inject drugs and from mother to child through the maintenance of effective prevention programs.

Likewise, when we look back over the history of WAAC, it is a history of progress as well as change and adaptation. In the early days of the epidemic, WAAC provided hospice-type care and support. It was a community organization, standing with community members. In 2019, support is about providing services that address a range of different needs.

Over the next few weeks, I will continue to outline some of the necessary changes at WAAC as we work with a wider range of groups and individuals.

Progress is never satisfied. There is always more work to be done to increase the quality of life of people living with HIV, and to minimize the personal and social impact of HIV.

So, here’s to progress. Let’s remain unsatisfied with the status quo, and embrace the changes ahead so we can provide more people with the tools they need to manage their health in a way that allows them to lead productive and successful lives. Let’s work together with government to eliminate the transmission of HIV within Western Australia

David Kernohan - CEO.

 When it comes to practising safe sex, nothing is more effective than condoms. Contraceptives such as the pill, intrauterine device (IUD) and progestogen implant do not stop STIs. Likewise, HIV prevention methods such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) do not prevent other STIs or pregnancy. Only condoms can do all of the above. And yet, according to recent studies, the rate of condom use is declining. New research published by CSIRO found that only 35% heterosexual men used a condom in their last sexual encounter. Only 47% of gay and bisexual men used condoms with their partners in 2016, compared to 68% in 2013.

Common excuses people make to justify not using condoms include: “It doesn’t feel as good,” “They don’t fit,” or “They ruin the mood.” Despite this, condoms can really be a lifesaver – so here are some tips to make them more pleasurable to use.

  •  Size matters
    One of the biggest myths is that condoms are one size fits all. Condoms, like penises, come in all shapes and sizes. Experiment with different brands and types to find the one that works best for you. 
  •  Practice makes perfect
    Buy a pack of condoms and familiarise yourself with them before using them for the first time. Practice putting them on so you can do it quickly and effortlessly when you’re in the heat of the moment.
  • Have fun
    Find ways to put a condom on in a sensual and sultry way. Incorporate it into foreplay so it feels natural. If you ever find condoms rough or uncomfortable, a little lube will do the trick. A few drops on the outside of the condom will reduce friction and decrease the risk of breakage. You can also put a couple of drops inside to increase sensitivity for the wearer.
  • Position yourself for pleasure
    High-friction positions can increase the pressure and sensation you experience during intercourse. The same goes with different angles: a slight shift to the side can greatly increase your enjoyment while using condoms.

Using a condom shows your partner that you have a respectful attitude to sex. Experiment with different condoms and positions to create a fun, safe, and pleasurable experience for you and your partner. 

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Sex and summer seem to go hand in hand. There’s something about the sun and the heat, the long days, the holidays and more free time that just brings people together in the most enjoyable of ways. We have more sex during the summer months than in other seasons. We know this for a few reasons:

  • Nine months after summer is September, which is the most common month for births in Australia. Holidays like Christmas and New Year, travel and summer fun are all factors in people having more sex (or at least, unprotected sex) than other months.
  • A 2015 Melbourne study shows that the average number of sexual partners people had over the summer months were higher than in any other season. This is for men who have sex with men, men who have sex with women and women who have sex with men.

As the numbers of partners goes up, so does the number of sexually transmitted infections. Cases of infections like gonorrhoea and chlamydia increase in summer, so if you are going to have some summer fun, make sure you look after yourself and your health.

Condoms, condoms, condoms. These are your best form of protection when it comes to avoiding both STIs and unintended pregnancy. You will want to take some steps in looking after your condoms though. Condoms don’t do super well in the heat so make sure you don’t store them in hot places for too long, like in your glove box or in your bag at the beach. Keep them cool and safe, but close, so they are good to go when you are good to go.

In addition to using protection, you will also want to get yourself tested. A lot of symptoms for STIs are invisible and you may not know you have one. See your GP or visit a sexual health clinic for a full check-up. It’s relatively simple and easy and enables you to take full control of your sexual health.

Take care of yourself so that you can have a summer sex that is safe and fun.

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If you wish to go straight to the survey, please click here

This is a survey about health, treatments, work, finances, sex and relationships of people living with HIV (PLHIV). Please complete this survey if you are a person living with HIV in Australia and aged over 18 years.

La Trobe University are keen to hear from all people living with HIV, including gay and bisexual men, women, heterosexual men and transgender people. The survey will be open until 30th April 2019.

Tell your friends

If you know of anyone else who might be able to complete the survey, please tell them about this study. The more people who answer the survey, the more useful the results will be. 

Participant information statement

If you wish to print a copy of the following Participant Information please select the text below and click print or email hivfutures@latrobe.edu.au and we can send you a copy. 

How long will the survey take?

For most people the survey will take between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours to complete. We know this is a long survey and appreciate the time you are taking to complete it. You may prefer to take a break between sections of the survey. Please see below for information about how to save your answers. Please complete as much as you can. If you have filled in some answers but do not wish to complete the whole survey please go to the last page and click submit. Your answers are still valuable to us, and will be used for the study, even if you don’t answer all the questions. 

How do I fill in the survey?

If you would prefer to complete this survey using a booklet (hard copy), please contact us by calling 1800 064 398 or e-mailing hivfutures@latrobe.edu.au. We will send you a hardcopy that can be returned via an anonymous, reply-paid envelope (supplied). 

  • To answer the survey online, click on the ‘take the survey’ link above or at the bottom of this page to begin.  
  • To answer each question either click a button or select an answer from the drop-down menu provided. 
  • If the answer that you want to give is not provided, select ‘Other’ and type in your response. 
  • In some cases, you will be asked to type your responses in a box. Just click on the box and type. 
  • Remember if there are any questions you do not wish to answer, just skip them.
  • To submit your answers, click on ‘Submit Answers’ on the final page.

Can I save my answers and come back to the survey later?

Yes. If you wish to take a break from the survey and continue at another time, click on the ‘SAVE YOUR PLACE IN THIS SURVEY’ link at the top of the page. Please note, your place will be saved from the top of the page. Any answers below will not be saved, so click to the next page before you save your place. 

  • Enter a password and confirm your password. 
  • After you have confirmed your password, you will be given a security code. You will need this code to open your saved questions, so you can either write it down or choose to have it emailed to you. 
  • You must remember your password as we cannot retrieve it for you!
  • If you provide your email address, we will also send you a brief reminder about the survey if you forget to return it
  • To open saved answers, enter the survey, click on ‘Restore previous answers’ and fill in your password and security code. 
  • You can save your answers as many times as you wish to. Each time you save you will receive a new security code.
  • Please note, we do not keep email addresses provided as part of saving your responses while completing the survey.  Once you exit the survey, you will not be able to open it without the password and security code. This means that two or more people can use the same computer to complete the survey and will not have access to each others’ answers. You can also use public computers, and can access your answers on more than one computer, as they are not saved on the computer’s hard drive. 

    Partially completed surveys will still be used in HIV Futures 9.

Can I see a copy of my answers or have my answers excluded after I press submit?

No. We are unable to retrieve or remove individual responses once they have been submitted sorry. 

If you wish to go straight to the survey, please click here

Our Mission

To minimise the impact and further transmission of HIV, other blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. To reduce social, legal and policy barriers which prevent access to health information and effective support and prevention services.

WA AIDS Council would like to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of this country throughout Australia, and their strength, resilience and connection to land and community. In particular, the WA AIDS Council would like to acknowledge the Wadjuk people of the Noongar Nation as the traditional custodians of the land in which our office is located.

 

 220px-Australian_Aboriginal_Flag.svg.png 218px-Flag_of_the_Torres_Strait_Islanders.svg.png Gay Flag  Transgender Flag  Intersex Flag Non-binary Pride Flag  Asexual Flag Bi flag Gender Queer Flag Lesbian Flag pan flag