Rainbow Report: Rapid Testing, Disclosure & Stigma

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The Rainbow Report, every Thursday night 7pm Melbourne time on Joy 94.9, but you don’t have to live in Melbourne to hear us. Use the free smartphone app or listen live online – here’s how. If you miss the show, don’t worry: all my shows are available as podcasts either via iTune or the CPod service within 24 hours.

HIV. We had a quite a heated debate last week which threw up as many questions as answers. And a fair old squabble over statistics. This week I want to look at the way the game is changing with the approval of Rapid Testing. Or is it?

One thing came through very clearly last week: we have a problem here in Melbourne with people not disclosing their HIV status, and that comes from the fact that people here seem to be more judgemental of pos people than they are elsewhere. Or to put it another way, there is a high rate of stigmatisation. We need to do something about that.

So joining me in the studio is Brent Allan, Executive Officer of Living Positive Victoria (that used to be People Living with HIV/AIDS Victoria). He’s passionate about reducing stigma and increasing disclosure.

And since we tend to get a lot of stats and jargon flying around when we’re talking about these issues, I thought I’d better have a resident expert/ translator on hand. Also known as The Healthy Bear, Dr George Forgan-Smith is “a gay GP with a strong interest in male health, mental health and health promotion.”

Since last week the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved Rapid Testing for HIV in Australia (under rather restrictive conditions), something just about everyone else has had for quite some time. It’s expected to be a game changer – but why? Rob Lake of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisation will join us on the line.

And finally, The Executive Director of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation Shaun Robinson will also be with us by phone: his organisation presided over a 33% drop in new infections last year . And a further 6% since. Are there lessons we can learn from them – they already have fast testing. How does that help?

As always, if you’ve got any questions for my guests. . . . . Leave a comment below. . . . Email The Rainbow Reporter . . . SMS during the show 0427 JOY 949. Or use the smartphone app. If you missed it, the podcast is here.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. And now he's been nominated for LGBTI Journalist of the Year 2017, which is great news, as he hasn't won any of these things for years! If you want to nominate him too - the more the merrier - you can do it here http://www.australianlgbtiawards.com.au/public-nominations.html "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)