Keeping on against HIV
I hope everyone had a wonderful time at Feast this year, seeing as many shows as possible and hanging out in the incredible ANZ Feast Hub?
It seems the festival and its events just keep growing. Pride March this year must have been the largest ever, the Pink Diamond Race Day was a sell-out and many of the individual shows sold out too. Congratulations to the entire Feast team, staff and volunteers who manage this miracle every year.
Our cover this issue features Ricki-Lee Coulter who, along with Marcia Hines, is an ambassador for this year’s Red Ribbon Appeal. Every year on December 1, World AIDS Day, we pause to remember those we have lost to HIV and AIDS and also determine to carry on raising public awareness of the fact that HIV has not gone away and that education and prevention programs are vital to eradicating the virus.
Shane Dinnison, CEO of the AIDS Council of South Australia, presents us this issue with a snapshot of where we are in the fight against HIV, where we’ve gained, where we’ve lost and what our strategies might be heading into a future free of HIV. He points out incidentally that both the AIDS Council and Positive Life SA have had funding cuts over the last financial year. “The indication from a cash strapped state health system is that we can expect further reductions over the next three years,” he says.
With new testing, treatment and prevention procedures already here or just around the corner, now is the worst time to start cutting back on STI prevention programs of any kind. With less cash to go around we all need to get smarter about how we deliver the message on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. And we need to let our community and business leaders and our politicians at local and national level know we have not forgotten that Australia has had one of the world’s best responses to the HIV crisis, which is still ongoing, and we expect Australia to maintain that world-leading standard.
On a lighter note, Christmas is rapidly approaching and so too is a visit from Andrew and Michael Tierney, Toby Allen and Phil Burton, also known as Human Nature. They’ve taken the world by storm with their Motown tribute concerts and they are heading down under just before the jolly fat man in the red suit gets here. Alex Dunkin spoke to Phil Burton about what it’s like to be the first Australian band ever to get a resident gig in Las Vegas and how it is to be in the same band for 23 years.
Ron Hughes is the editor of blaze.