“It is an honour to be one of Western Australia's National Association of People Living with HIV (NAPWHA) representatives for 2016. I am an ambitious, energetic and passionate individual and I take great pride in my honesty and realistic approach to the issues we face as People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and life in general. I have the maturity and ability to understand and appreciate the serious nature of issues and experiences. My bright personality and humour can shed a ray of light on a dark situation.
The battle to fight stigma in the community is one that is real and I believe begins with ourselves, PLHIV. Our solidarity as a community is our strength. I strongly believe in working together as a united body as we can not only stop the ever-growing stigma around this virus but we can also grow, not just as strong individuals but as a community.
2016 marks 8 years since my diagnosis and an unknown time before then since I was infected. I, like some individuals today had a fear of receiving a positive result as it was only through routine pre surgery testing that my positive life began. I believe this fear is fostered through a lack of education and awareness of what it means to be living positively and fear/stigma of becoming positive whether race, gender, sexuality, age and culture.
My previous community involvement in the HIV and GBLTI communities include; voluntary assistance with the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) and committee member of a swim team, Different Strokes Wellington (DSW). During my time at DSW we hosted the swim meet for the Asia Pacific Out Games and established the capital swim meet as part of Rainbow Sports weekend.
I am passionate in sharing my story and experience in the hope that taking the time to discuss the issues that we face today will make a difference to others within the community. Born in New Zealand and living in Japan for 5years, I now call Perth home. I embrace my Maori and Kiwi heritage as well as the many cultures of my adopted country. I bring a fresh, energetic and personable approach as one of Western Australia's NAPWHA representatives. My aspirations for NAPWHA are to become a stronger and more positive community solidified by the strength of its supporting individuals.
KIA KAHA – Stand Strong”