Thursday, 28 July 2016 08:01

What's On for People Living with HIV


The WA AIDS Council have a range of workshops, forums and activities for people living with HIV in Western Australia.

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli at or phone 9482 0000 who will explain how you can get involved.

To view upcoming activities, simply click on the events listings below.
*Please note, events and dates are subject to change. If you have any questions about workshops or events you can call Alli on 9482 0000 or email

National Day of Women Living with HIV - Wednesday 7th March

womens dinner march 2018

National Day of Women Living with HIV

You are invited to a celebration dinner in recognition of the National Day of Women Living with HIV. bTogether we can celebrate, advocate, inspire, acknowledge and empower! 

When: Please join us on Wednesday 7th March at 6:30pm to network and share

For further details and to RSVP, email Alli on or call 9482 0000 by Monday 5th March. 

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli (details above) who will explain how you can get involved.

U=U Forum - Thursday 8th March


Screen Shot 2018 02 06 at 11.22.30 am

This is an opportunity to have your U=U questions answered by Bruce Richman, a community leader who has an unprecedented impact on the global HIV response. Hosted by TIM's Nic Holas. One of TIM's taglines is "welcome to HIV in the 21st century" and this speaking tour is a great chance to get updated on where things are at. The event is open to all people who would like to engage in the Undetectable = Untransmissable conversation. 

When: Thursday 8th March, 6:30PM. 

To get involved:
Places are limited, RSVP is essential. Please email Alli Paterson or for phone enquiries call Lisa on 0403 162 844

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli (details above) who will explain how you can get involved.

Women's Forum Saturday 10th March

womens forum

For women, presented by women. Featuring speakers representing local HIV  positive women, HIV sector professionals and Femfatales (NAPWHA).

Forum Program: Guest Speakers, A Positive Women's Perspective, Femfatales Update (NAPWHA) Lunch & Afternoon Tea

When: 10th March 10:30am - 4:00pm 

RSVP Essential:
Please contact Alli by 7th March on or 9482 0000. 

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli (details above) who will explain how you can get involved.

Planet Positive Saturday 17th March

planet pos gay men and msm june 20171                    PLANET POSITIVE

Mark would like to invite you to the Gay/MSM Planet Positive Social Event. You are welcome to bring a partner or a friend (please note: this is a gay / MSM men's event only). This is a safe space to network. 

RSVP Essential:
Please contact Alli for attendance, venue details, and for catering purposes on or 9482 0000. 

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli (details above) who will explain how you can get involved.

Learning with Horses Saturday 21st April

Screen Shot 2018 02 19 at 12.24.56 pm


Would you like to try something different to help you manage stress, step into the present moment and remember the calm and quiet within yourself? 

We are offering an opportunity for a small group who have note previously been to a therapeutic and experiential learning approach called Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). 

During the session, the horses are not ridden, and our feet stay on the ground during the activities. No prior experience with horses is needed to participate. If you are a little hesitant or fearful of horses, you will be supported to participate in a way that feels comfortable and safe for you. 

When: 21st April 9:30am - 2pm 

Where:  Wattle Grove

Lunch: is included, please notify us of any dietary needs you may have. 

Medical: there are bees and pollen on the property, so people with allergies need to be mindful of this and bring medication/epipens if necessary. 

Liability: you will be asked to sign consent forms with a liability waiver . The horses are trained as therapy horses but as with any large animal, there will always be some level of risk. 

What do I need to bring? 
- A sense of curiosity and adventure to try something different and spend time out-doors with the horses! 
- The key is to be safe, warm and comfortable. We will mostly be outdoors so please wear appropriate clothing for the weather and flat, closed in shoes or boots that will be comfortable. 
- Please bring along a water bottle

Register your interest: Please contact Alli on 9482 0000 or email by Monday the 16th of April. There are only 6 places available and 2 back up bookings will be taken if someone is not able to attend. 

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli (details above) who will explain how you can get involved.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016 06:48

2016 Womens Forum a success!

A Safe & Supportive Space for Women Living with HIV and Women who work in the HIV sector

Women lead busy lives and in between careers, kids and everything else that consumes their days, it is often that women don’t take time out for themselves. On Saturday 18th June 2016 a very successful event for women living with HIV (WLHIV) and women who work as health professionals in the sector was hosted by the WA AIDS Council. In attendance were 15 WLHIV, 11 health professionals and 3 WA AIDS Council staff members. The forum provided WLHIV a safe space to come together as peers, engage with clinicians outside of the hospital setting and discuss all things old, new and in the pipeline.

Presentations were facilitated by Dr Susan Herrmann from the Murdoch University’s Institute for Immunology & Infectious Diseases, Dr Moira Wilson from Fiona Stanley Hospital, Clinical Nurse Specialist Allison Cain from Royal Perth Hospital, Diane Lloyd from the National Association of People Living with HIV Australia’s Femme Fatales network and Liz Walker, HIV Positive Peer Education Officer at the WA AIDS Council.

Susan discussed ‘the elephant in the room’ and how the persisting issue of HIV-related stigma is essentially the ‘third’ phase of the epidemic. The first was identified as the establishment of the ‘epidemic’, the second ‘understanding HIV’ and the medical and treatment breakthroughs that have resulted in HIV now being referred to as a chronic manageable illness (CMI). So if HIV is a CMI, why isn’t it being spoken about openly by women and others living with HIV, than say Diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis or Parkinson's disease? Whilst medically HIV is a CMI, a human evolutionary perspective about HIV as an infectious disease still lingers. HIV stigma persists as some kind of disgrace, based on the natural avoidance of a communicable disease.
Moira presented information and themes based on her recent participation in a HIV & Women Conference held in Boston, USA. The key themes at the conference were;

• Women: From adolescence through menopause
• Stigma
• Preventing women getting HIV- PrEP & Women
• Breastfeeding
• Keeping women engaged in long-term care
• Achieving women-centered care

Moira shared her passion about working with WLHIV, supporting women to take control and supporting each other. Moira also strongly encouraged the notion of on-going forums to bring women together.

Allison shared her journey of working for many years in the sector, with a significant focus as the RPH coordinator of the rural & remote program and working with women in the pregnancy program. The crucial rural and remote service was established in 1998 with 21 PLHIV registered with the service, compared to 214 active patients in 2016. The multidisciplinary approach is essential for the service to function and includes Medical, Nursing, Allied Health and Community Agencies.
Some of the challenges for rural & remote patients are;

• Isolation
• Fear of unwanted disclosure
• Shame/Blame
• Family
• Culture
• Access to services
• Transport
• Continuity of care
• High Mobility
• Maintaining confidentiality & privacy
• Medical/Nurse staff turnover

The WA Multidisciplinary Pregnancy Team is an inter-agency team, established to manage all pregnancies for women living with HIV. The program has assisted an increasing number of babies born to WLHIV in WA (Figure 1).

WLHIV womensforumarticle

Figure 1: Cumulative total of number of babies born to WLHIV in WA from pre 1994 to 2013
Since its establishment, the program has managed an increasing number of pregnancies with geographic location, ethnicity or culture being of no barrier. This number is expected to reach 200 by end of 216. Key program outcomes include:

• Low rate of perinatal HIV transmission
• Containment & prevention of HIV transmission
• Comprehensive care & support
• Cost saving to the Health System

Diane from Femme Fatales (National Association of People Living with HIV Australia – NAPWHA) provided an update from the national network and discussed the current focus for the group. In addition, Diane encouraged women to attend further events and forums to ensure their continuance.

The WA AIDS Council’s HIV Positive Peer Educator, Liz Walker, presented on “All things Women & HIV”,

Liz provided some statistics, highlighting that globally 50% of people living with HIV are women, and in Australia, less than 10% of PLHIV are women. Liz acknowledged Australia has been long recognized for its response to HIV, which is largely attributed to the courage and determination of PLHIV in the face of adversity, regardless of their gender. Whilst this has been the response, there are gender specific issues and challenges in Australia when considering women living with HIV:

• Reproductive health
• Menopause
• Gaps in WLHIV research & aggregated gender data
• Particular issues for women relating to disclosure
• Lack of support networks in comparison to gay men

• Greater likelihood that WLHIV will live in outer suburban or regional areas
• Greater rate of HIV diagnosis amongst Aboriginal women
• High rates of WLHIV diagnosed with mental health conditions

The WLHIV were also grateful to hear from one of their peers, about her journey of wanting to start a family and the challenges and complexities of being the first women living with HIV in WA to conceive via IVF.

Feedback on the most useful and enjoyable parts of the Women’s Forum included:
“The personal stories given by women, very important to hear”,
“Presentations by different speakers, giving a holistic perspective on lives”,
“Being able to share experiences, work together in trying to improve and make changes”,
“Presentations done on disclosure, pregnancy, women and medication, in general all information presented was very relevant”

The success of the first Women’s Forum in WA has highlighted the benefit of WLHIV and health professionals collaborating together to achieve better health outcome and patient focussed care. We hope to provide further Women’s Forums in the future.

Published in Latest News
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 01:15

July social event for PLHIV

We invite you and your partner, a friend and/or family to join us for a couple of games of bowling and pizzas in a relaxed Perth setting!

Date: Saturday July 30th

For further details and to RSVP email Alli at  or call 08 9482 0000

Please note this event is only open to people living with HIV (PLHIV) and their partner, a friend and/or family

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli (details below) who will explain how you can get involved.

Please supply partners and/or children's names that will be attending. RSVP by July 25th

Published in Latest News
Thursday, 09 June 2016 02:38

Buddying up for mental health

By Lisa Tomney, Manager, Clinical Services

The BUDDY Volunteer program is the key existing volunteer program which matches a Volunteer with a person living with HIV (PLHIV), who may benefit from the additional contact that the BUDDY Volunteer can provide.

In days gone by, Volunteer Care Teams were an essential service providing home care support, transport and palliative care support. Today, the remaining BUDDY program provides essential contacts with clients who may be in need of some emotional support or to help break down any social isolation they may be experiencing.

In the lead up to Men’s Health Week, I caught up with a BUDDY to find out more about his role.

What motivated you to become a volunteer for the WA AIDS Council, and specifically being a part of the Clinical Services BUDDY program?

I wished to become a volunteer with the WA AIDS Council because of the positive feedback I had received from people who had previous experience volunteering and others who had accessed the services. I felt that the organisation was aligned with my own values, supporting people in the community who may be at risk of discrimination, isolation and further mental health issues spurred on by the social stigmas.

I chose to be a part of the BUDDY program when applying for a volunteer position because I wanted to provide support for someone living with an HIV diagnosis, having an awareness of the marginalisation that PLHIV can experience. I also read that the organisation would find a suitable buddy that shared commonalities. This particularly grabbed my attention as I wished to spend time with someone who shared my passion for all things creative!

As a BUDDY, you are working as one-on-one support for a person living with HIV. What do you find most rewarding about your role?

What I find most rewarding about my role is how I get to spend a few hours a fortnight hanging out with someone who has now become a close friend. We have been catching up every fortnight or so, visiting art galleries, watching movies and always enjoying a meal together. I have been studying for the past few years as well as working part-time, and I often forget to enjoy the simple things I used to do. My buddy has inspired me to start painting again, as well as begin photography. They have a wonderful sense of humour, and offer honest feedback when I ask their opinion about anything I need to share.

What positive outcomes/benefits do you believe the BUDDY program and your role provides for PLHIV?

I believe the BUDDY program allows individuals living with an HIV diagnosis to connect with someone that they may not have an opportunity otherwise to meet. I do not think there would have been a time or place that my buddy and I would have been able to swap details and meet up for a cuppa and convo. I believe that PLHIV can greatly benefit from this program as it invites someone who has the intention of providing social support, allowing for a reciprocal, caring relationship to develop, and another person one can look forward to spending non-judgemental time with. I would like to hope that my buddy would feel that our experiences together have been fun, enlivening and memory-making - as they have been for me.

Published in Latest News
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 07:42

Women's Forum 2016 - Register today

The Women’s Forum will be held on Saturday the 18th of June from 10am to 4pm

Topics discussed will include, but are not limited to:
Conceiving, pregnancy, delivery, post-natal care & support
Sex and relationships
Sexual health & contraception
Formula feeding and reasons why
Mental health
Gender-based violence/domestic violence
Disclosure/disclosure to children

Introduction and Welcome
Acknowledgement of Country - Lisa Tomney
A Presentation from Liz Walker, All About Women

Dr Moira Wilson
HIV and Women: Adolescence Through Menopause.
Hot topics from the only international conference
dedicated solely to women with HIV.

Allison Cain
Working with Women, Rural and Remote

Susan Herrman PhD
Quality of Life & Stigma

A Positive Woman's Perspective

Femme Fatales Update (NAPWHA)

Register today

It is essential to RSVP. Lunch and afternoon tea are provided.

To register, or for further information contact Alli Paterson by Tuesday 14th June via phone 9482 0000 or email 

Each participant is in the running for a Gourmet Hamper & two $50 Event Cinema Vouchers
Or a Red and White Wine Package.

Published in Latest News
Thursday, 12 May 2016 06:41

June social event for PLHIV

Come along and catch up, share a drink, good food and a chat.

Date: Saturday June 4th
Time: 6pm-8pm

Please note this event is only open to people living with HIV (PLHIV) and their partners or a friend.

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli (details below) who will explain how you can get involved.

For further details and to RSVP email Alli at or call on 9482 0000
Please RSVP by Wednesday June 1st.

Published in Archives
Thursday, 14 April 2016 02:42

Positive Caring Handbook

Published in Key Resources

Late yesterday, February 18, representatives from Magenta, NAPWHA, Scarlet Alliance, SWOP NSW and the WA AIDS Council produced a joint media release following media reports of an alleged HIV transmission.

While we cannot comment on a case before the courts, we can comment on the standard of reporting. Depictions of the case in the media have been sensationalised, highly stigmatising and disrespectful. The misinformed and stigmatising media reporting that often accompanies these cases undermines public health education messages and creates an environment of fear in which people are reluctant to test, and people with HIV cannot disclose their status.

To read the full media release, click here.




Published in Latest News
Thursday, 18 February 2016 08:33

PLHIV & Employment

Generally, you are not obliged to tell an employer or prospective employer that you are HIV-positive. However you do have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure your own safety and health and to avoid adversely affecting the health and safety of others in the work place.

Employers and managers must ensure first aid is available at all times.

If you do disclosure your HIV-positive status employers are often unprepared and frequently over react because they think that the risk of transmission to others is much greater that it actually is. They may be concerned over situations that pose no risk ‘what if someone else drinks from your mug?’ or where there may be a slight risk that can be minimised by the use of Standard Precautions ‘what if you cut  ourself and bleed?’

Employers have a general duty to maintain employee confidentiality and in many cases your employer will be subject to the Privacy Act 1988 which requires that the information be kept confidential. In ractice though, if your employer breaches the duty then there may be no way to provide a satisfactory remedy. Consider very carefully before disclosing because once you have disclosed, you cannot take the information back. While your current supervisor may be understanding, if your HIV-positive status is on file then your next supervisor will also have access to this information and may have a different attitude.

If an employer dismisses you because you have HIV, or prevents you from undertaking certain tasks that would normally be part of your job, then this may amount to unlawful discrimination. Seek legal advice about your rights. You must act quickly however, as in some instances legal action must be commenced in less than 21 days. Contact the WA AIDS Council for legal referral.

Employment Exceptions

There are very few jobs where an employer or prospective employer can legally ask about your HIV status/require you to have an HIV test.

Australian Defence Force (ADF)

Everyone who applies to join the ADF is tested for HIV. If you test HIV-positive you will not be accepted into the ADF.

The ADF also regularly test serving personnel. If you are already a member of the ADF confirmation of a HIV-positive status will result in you being non-deployable. You will be referred to a Medical Employment Classification Review Board and may be medically discharged or retained as a member in a non-deployable role for a ‘period of time’.

Combat and related roles are specifically exempted from the protection of discrimination legislation.


HIV positive people are not able to gain or hold certain classes of commercial aviation licences. It is an offence to give false or misleading information, or to omit information when completing an application
for an aviation medical examination. This includes lying about your HIV status. The maximum penalty is twelve months imprisonment.

Health Care Workers (HCWs)

There is no mandatory requirement in WA to test HCWs for their blood-borne virus status (i.e. HIV, HBV, HCV). If you are a HIV-positive health care worker you can usually continue to work without any
restrictions, but should always follow procedures to prevent HIV transmission and report HIV exposure incidents. Ancillary staff, such as clerical workers, porters, cleaners and laundry staff in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings also do not need to disclosure their status to employers or prospective employers.

HCWs are encouraged to know their own HIV status, especially if performing ‘Exposure Prone Procedures’ (EPPs). HIV-positive HCWs must not perform EPPs. EPPs are procedures performed in a confined body cavity where there is poor visibility and a risk of cutting yourself with a sharp tool, tooth, or bone. This restriction particular affects surgeons, dentists and a limited number of nurses. If you are a HIV-positive surgeon, dentist or nurse performing EPPs you must seek advice from your professional body as to the types of procedures you may and may not perform or assist with.


Sick days

If you are taking a lot of sick days your employer may ask you to provide a medical certificate. You can ask your doctor not to specify your HIV status on your medical certificate.

Medical examinations/drug test

By law, you cannot be tested for HIV without your specific consent and it may be unlawful for your employer to require you to undergo a HIV test. If you consent to a HIV test then your employer has a duty of confidentiality and must also not treat you less favourably.

Some industries enforce random drug tests aiming to assess whether you have used any prohibited substances which may make it unsafe for you and your colleagues in the work place. Antiretroviral (ARVs) medication, in particular efavirenz (found in Australia products Stocrin and Atripla) sometimes cause false positive results for prohibited substances, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis and the prescription medication benzodiazepine.

If you receive a false positive on a drug test due to your ARV medication then this may cause some problems. A false positive may cause the medical examiner to notify your supervisor so they can withdraw you from duties pending a conclusive result. A letter from your HIV doctor indicating you are on prescription medication which might cause a false positive drug test is advisable to have with you, or to obtain if this occurs. It is not necessary for your doctor to cite your HIV condition as the reason for the medication or to list the ARVs.

If you do choose to disclose your HIV status to the medical examiner they have a duty of confidentiality and that information is protected by privacy laws.


If you have any further questions about employment, don't hesitate to contact Mark Reid on 08 9482 0000 or email 

Published in Key Information
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 08:17

Mini March Series limited spaces left!

The March Mini Series is open to all people living with HIV (PLHIV). It is a 1 ½ to 2 hour seminar each Tuesday in March from 6:30pm, focussing on a variety of aspects about HIV as follows:

8th March: Skills to successfully manage your HIV
HIV is a chronic manageable condition, but what skills do you need for the long haul? Get some tips and different strategies to negotiate all the ups and downs that come with life.

15th March: HOT OFF THE PRESS: Updates & developments from CROI
The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) is an important international conference focussed on HIV. It is often the first place to release ground-breaking/famous scientific studies, such as the Partner Study in 2014. Come along and find out what HIV developments were presented at CROI this year.

22nd March: Explore the origin and evolution of HIV
Ever wanted to know more about HIV itself? Learn about cross-species transmission and factors which unconsciously lead to the global pandemic. No conspiracy theories here, just the use of published scientific journal articles.

29th March: Challenge outdated criminal laws on HIV transmission
Learn about the criminalization of HIV around the world, how to challenge it and how Victoria, Australia successfully repelling 19A.

Register today to avoid disappointment

Spaces are filling up fast! To secure your spot, contact Alli Paterson on 08 9482 0000 or email 

Please note this workshop is only open to people living with HIV (PLHIV)

Not linked in with the WA AIDS Council? Not to worry. If you haven’t connected with the WA AIDS Council previously and would like to register for this event, please contact Alli (details above) who will explain how you can get involved.

A light supper and refreshments are provided.

Published in Latest News
Page 2 of 5

Our Mission

To minimise the impact and further transmission of HIV, other blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. To reduce social, legal and policy barriers which prevent access to health information and effective support and prevention services.