|Lina Ayoubi, from the Islamic Council of Victoria, was one of the|
speakers at a recent Melbourne forum for religious leaders.
Photo: Dan Walls, courtesy of the Multicultural Health
and Support Service (MHSS).
For people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, quite a lot.
Hand in Hand, a forum on HIV for religious leaders in Melbourne on 11 March heard that for many people with HIV from CALD communities, spiritual faith is central to their lives, but the stigma associated with HIV, and silence from church, mosque and temple, can lead to isolation and distress.
Speakers representing several peak religious bodies in Victoria expressed concern about this isolation and stigmatisation, and discussed how the core principles of their faiths could – and should – inform both care and support for people with HIV, and community-based HIV prevention and awareness programs.
Over forty people attended the forum, which addressed the role of spiritual and community leaders in preventing HIV transmission in migrant and refugee communities. Hand in Hand was organised by the Multicultural Health and Support Service (MHSS), a program of the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health in Victoria. It was the third in a series of cross-sectoral Multicultural Sexual Health Network (MHSN) forums on BBV/STI prevention issues for CALD communities.