Monday 26 March 2012

Some brief reflections on PSF 2012

L-R: Rob Lake (AFAO Executive
director) and Michael Hurley
(PSF facillitator)

Michael Hurley (Adjunct Assoc. Professor, ARCSHS) who facilitated the Positive Services Forum concluded the forum proceedings by providing his reflections on some of the overriding themes that emerged across the two days.

He challenged us to consider how HIV is perceived within the context of public health. With the rapid decline in mortality directly related to HIV, the development of co-morbidities, and the increasing life-expectancy, he said that the story of HIV in Australia is “not a straight-forward story to tell”.

Michael observed that there were a number of dualities in the current response to HIV. For example: the existence of ‘old epidemics’ and ‘new epidemics’ in Australia generates tensions for service providers and require new approaches; the cultural versus the biomedical (eg. safe sex practices versus treatment as prevention); the public health and the counter-public health approach (public health versus criminalisation).

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Engaging with communities: building and sustaining community involvement

In this session at the Positive Services Forum, presenters outlined programs and initiatives that target specific communities, and discussed challenges related to community engagement.

Living well: addressing social isolation

Presenters in this session of the Positive Services Forum described programs that aimed to reduce social isolation and build resilience for people living with HIV. Programs included volunteer mentoring, the 'rock and water' program, support around food and nutrition, and a camp for HIV-affected families. A notable theme was funding through partnerships with the private sector.

State of the positive nation - changes and emerging issues

Day two of the Positive Services Forum opened with a breakfast session focusing on scientific and social research about people living with HIV. The session was  facilitated by AFAO Executive Director Rob Lake; presenters outlined a range of current and emerging issues for PLHIV based on current research.

Living well: addressing stigma and social isolation

Presenters in this session at the Positive Services Forum highlighted a range of projects addressing stigma and discrimination amonst a variety of groups.

Infiltrating the mainstream

Presenters in the third session at the Positive Services Forum discussed the increase in PLHIV accessing  mainstream services and the need for mainstream and specialised services to work together to develop new and innovative approaches to service delivery.

The policy environment: jurisdictional intersections

Session Two at the AFAO Positive Services Forum focused on current issues for people living with HIV, which include e-health, health reform, immigration, criminalisation and discrimination.

Monday 19 March 2012

New Directions - Services responding to a changing landscape

30 years into the HIV epidemic, Australian service providers and policy-makers face a variety of changes - including biomedical advances that enhance the potential of treatment as prevention; and changes in the profile of new diagnoses each year. In this session at the Positive Services Forum, speakers identified key changes and explored potential responses and strategies for seizing the opportunities these changes present.

Ian Rankin opening address at Positive Serves Forum 2012

Ian Rankin, AFAO president,  gave the opening address at the forum. He spoke about the new HIV prevention targets Australia has committed to, saying that in order to achieve them part of our work is to attract, convince and support many thousands more people living with HIV to commence treatment.

Thursday 15 March 2012

AFAO Positive Services Forum 2012

AFAO is holding a national Positive Services Forum on 19-20 March for AFAO member organisations involved in planning and providing services to people living with HIV.

The Forum will provide opportunities to:
  • explore key care and support issues
  • share information and resources
  • network and strategise
  • share best practice for maintaining and promoting quality service provision which meets the needs of people living with HIV across affected communities.
You can view the forum program on our website.

We are keen to facilitate network-building, collaborations and sharing of resources within the AFAO membership and also between our sector and mainstream providers.

Keep an eye on this blog - AFAO staff will be posting updates on the Forum proceedings.