Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Advocacy and updates: AFAO Members Forum day two

Craig Cooper from Positive Life NSW opened day two of forum with an update about community dispensing of ARVs  in NSW.

On Day two of the Forum, participants posed for a photo in solidarity with the
International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia

Craig presented data providing overwhelming evidence that people with HIV want increased options for accessing medications, with over 80% of people said they would collect HIV treatments at community pharmacies in one national survey.

He expressed particular concern about stigma and referred to a lack of knowledge among some community pharmacists about HIV transmission risk. He said that the upcoming launch of pharmacist training programs aims to help address this knowledge gap.

He also said that Positive Life NSW will conduct a second national survey to help ensure optimal roll-out of community dispensing.

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Graham Brown from ARCSHS discussed research that is using systems thinking to develop practical indicators to strengthen community and peer based program planning. He said that peer workers are able to draw on their own experience to interpret research for their communities, and this knowledge and experience is a resource which is not always valued by the sector.

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HIV Australia editor, Finn O'Keefe, discussed an external evaluation of the magazine which highlights its success as a policy and advocacy resource.

The evaluation report profiles ways in which the magazine engages the readership in reflection and dialogue on key issues, and said that the extremely positive report reflects well on our sector and all the contributors to the magazine.

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Jill Sergeant profiled AFAO's African project, which is working with religious leaders and consulting with communities to combat homophobia and HIV stigma.

She explained that AFAO will be broadening this focus to include a range of other CALD communities over the coming year. A resource mapping CALD projects across Australia is also in development and will be launched at ASHM in September.

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John Mikelsons (ATA)
John Mikelsons, Deputy Director of the AIDS Trust of Australia, updated members on strategic directions and plans for funds disbursement over the next three years and answered questions from the floor.




AFAO ED Rob Lake thanked participants for helping to clarify focus areas for health promotion,
policy development and advocacy over the coming year 

AFAO's Jill Sergeant and Finn O'Keefe
trying to keep up with the conversations on
social media


AFAO ED Rob Lake and AFAO President Bridget Haire closed the forum, thanking participants for their high level of engagement, which helped clarify focus areas for health promotion, policy development and advocacy over the coming year.

They also celebrated the important progress made in areas such as PrEP, community dispensing and rapid testing.

 It was an extremely successful two days. AFAO is very grateful to everyone that attended and participated and greatly appreciates speakers’ generosity in providing stimulating presentations.

You can download a detailed report on the forum here.

AFAO President Bridget Haire

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