world-aids-day

I first met with the Positive Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Network (PATSIN). This board consists of three men and two women. We met and discussed how we can have more impact on the ATSI community, already we give public talks and give peer support to HIV positive Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Arone, one of our members did an art sculpture for WAD that was displayed at the ;agoon on the Wednesday 1st December (WAD) which was funded by Arts Showbiz Cares. At our meeting we had a guest speaker Dr Heather McNamee from Cairns Sexual Health who gave us the latest clinical information on HIV and also general information on HIV clietns. The main issue particularly being, women are choosing not to take medications as they fear their family will find out about their HIV status. They are prepared to get sick rather than disclose that they have HIV. This is concerning for the staff. Most ATSI people go to Cairns Sexual Health Service for confidentiality reasons or to a GP for their sexual health needs rather than their own Aboriginal Health Service.

On Wednesday, World AIDS Day, I was asked to speak at the Apunipima Cape York Health Council by the Sexual Health Nurse Belinda Hengel. I gave a testimony and a stroy of SNAKE to the staff. There were 35 participants in attendance asking lots of questions. Marc Wenitong – Director & co-chair National Aboriginal Sexual Health Committee was in the audience and later told me that Shakaya who performed at the very first SNAKEFEST  was his daughter. I also did an hour on the WAD stall which had organisations representing the HIV and Hep C sector. I placed SNAKE condoms and materials on the stall which showed a lot of interest and all were gone by the end of the day. That evening there was a WAD memorial service next to the lagoon. The next day I recevied a tour of Cairns Sexual Health Service which also provides a Hep C service. The service also has four Aboriginal Health Worker team members. Cairns Sexual Health Service recognises the need for Marie Stopes services to be available as Doctors performing sexual health services are limited.

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