HIV Foundation Qld moves into the Valley, as part 2 of its E.N.D. H.I.V. campaign begins
HIV Foundation Queensland has found a home in the Valley in office space on Ann Street, and aims to have a peer-based HIV rapid testing centre operating there by the end of July.
The new testing centre, accessed via Winn Street, will be available from 4pm-8pm most weekdays as well as Saturdays to anyone with a Medicare card.
“Our new facility will be staffed by fully trained peer educators in a more casual setting,” said HIVFQ CEO Tony Majer.
“We know from experience elsewhere that this can assist greatly in reaching gay men and other men who have sex with men who have not been tested before or avoid testing regularly.”
Also relocating to Ann Street will be the foundation’s Community HIV Education and Prevention Program (CHEPP) officers.
Tony Majer, Jesse Hooper and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg inside the HIVFQ's new office space.
In addition, members of HIVFQ were joined by Queensland Minister for Health Lawrence Springborg at the new office today to launch a series of videos produced to address stigma surrounding HIV.
The videos are part of the second phase of the E.N.D. H.I.V. campaign, launched today, which will hit Queensland televisions and newspapers in the government's campaign to stop the spread of HIV.
The videos were produced with non-actors telling personal stories about their experience of HIV.
WATCH: the new video campaign here.
“Lack of understanding and awareness about HIV can lead to stigma and can shape how people view those who live with HIV,” Springborg said.
“We want to put an end to the stigma so Queenslanders feel comfortable accessing testing services and seeking treatment for HIV.
“It’s really important that we are able to educate the wider community about HIV. This will help the foundation with its goal to reduce HIV transmissions.”
One of those featured in the videos is Queensland Positive People peer support and communications officer Jesse Hooper.
“I’m incredibly passionate about sharing my story and empowering people to share theirs through talking about HIV and humanising it,” Hooper told QP. “That’s how we reduce the stigma and discrimination.”
Hooper acknowledged that there is a level of complacency regarding HIV in the LGBTI community.
“I think the community is growing a little bit tired of the safe sex message – and that’s a fundamentally important message, but things have changed and we need to acknowledge that and grow with that.
“So while safe sex and condoms have a place in the response to HIV and sexual health, showcasing the lived experience of HIV also has a fundamental role to play in the response to HIV.”
Hooper said the new HIVFQ office and HIV rapid testing centre was well located.
“It will be a fantastic addition to the Valley, and [because it’s] available for testing outside standard business hours and on a Saturday, I believe we will see an increase in testing,” he said.
IMAGE, TOP: HIVFQ CEO Tony Majer (left) and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg with the foundation’s Community HIV Education and Prevention Program (CHEPP) officers. Photos: A. Shaw