WA AIDS Council Shuns HIV+ Community

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pic by Steve Winton

James Rendell, Vice Chairperson People Living with HIV/AIDS WA Inc. and a member of the Liberal Party, says the WA AIDS Council is failing to engage with the local HIV Positive Community.

It is a concern that Major Policy and Law Reform Submissions are being made by the WA AIDS Council on behalf of the Positive Community without any meaningful consultation.

The AIDS Council flatly refuses to allow any Positive Person to be elected by the community to the board to represent People Living with HIV, and to act to ensure that they are fairly treated in WA.

The Council have an appointed Positive Person Position whose role seems to be just to attend Board meetings in Perth & Sydney and to act as a token representative only. This person is not appointed by the community, and the community is not allowed any input into how this appointment is made to the Board.

As part of the funding agreement the AIDS Council has with the government, they are required to actually engage with People who have HIV/AIDS and be more than just a service provider.

There have been a number Formal written Requests to the WA AIDS Council Board from members of the Positive community for a change in how the views of Positive people are heard by the Aids Council, but these have been unanswered, and AIDS Council Members correspondence has not been replied to.

If the WA AIDS Council wants to maintain its funding from the State Government then it needs to honour its funding agreements with the State Government to be actively engaged with the Positive Community on matters of Policy, Law Reform and Advocacy.

If the AIDS Council continues to refuse to do this, then the State Government should have no option but to create and fund a new properly transparent and accountable organisation that involves the HIV/AIDS Community of WA in decision making, and gives them a greater involvement in AIDS Education strategies, so that the aim of 0 new AIDS infections can finally stop being nothing more than a PR pipe dream.

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About the author

James Rendell is the President of Fagmedia an Independent Queer Media Organisation at www.fagmedia.com.au Editor of Perth Gay News which is Fagmedia's "fluffy social to keep the locals happy" website. www.perthgaynews.com aka Senior Sister Sister Mary-Jane Singleton of the Divine Green Weed, SS Mistress Aunnuncio of the Perth Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence theperthsisters.org (For the hottest gossip in Perth go to theholybitchmotherdingo.org and last but not least he is Vice Chairperson of People Living with HIV/AIDS WA Inc but his words here are his purely personal views and not those of the organisation. James' Academic Quals include BA (ECU) PostGradDip Health Promotion (Curtin) Grad Dip Photomedia (ECU) James was awarded the Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year for 1988 by the Corrigin Shire Council in Western Australia and has traveled to 5 continents on this planet.