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Media Release

26 May 2022

This National Reconciliation Week 2022, Positive Life NSW calls on all people living with HIV to think about what reconciliation means and what practical steps we can take to be brave, make change, and build trust and mutual respect with our Indigenous brothers and sisters living with HIV.

National Reconciliation Week starts with National Sorry Day, or the National Day of Healing, on Thursday 26 May which marks the anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report in the Australian Parliament in 1997. For the first time, the report gave voice and recognised the experiences of the Stolen Generations survivors, their families and communities. This National Reconciliation Week commemorates two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey beginning with the successful 1967 referendum (27 May 1967) and the High Court Mabo decision (3 June 1992).

As one of two Positive Life NSW Aboriginal Health Program Officers, Ms Michelle Tobin reminds us that HIV still disproportionately burdens Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A proud Aboriginal woman of the Yorta Yorta Nation living with HIV, and descendant of the Stolen Generation, she calls for “a tailored approach for Indigenous people that begins with better awareness of HIV through culturally appropriate, community-level communication which is particularly focused on women and people who inject drugs.”

“It’s time all levels of society including our governments and leaders acknowledged that current efforts and interventions are not enough,” said Michelle.  “We need brave leaders who are able to build trust and make change to reverse the trend of increasing rates of BBV and STIs in our communities.”

“Positive Life’s Aboriginal needs assessment has highlighted the importance of being brave and starting the conversation with our brothers and sisters around HIV,” said Michelle. “Simple conversations are key to building each other up and finding ways we can make change to improve our health outcomes.”

“On this National Sorry Day and throughout National Reconciliation Week, we are highlighting the outcomes of this first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander needs assessment conducted in NSW,” said Ms Jane Costello, Positive Life NSW CEO. “Change is not an easy thing. It is only through relentless efforts by all of us that we will see positive change at all levels of society in the larger story of reconciliation,” she said.

Jane Costello, CEO – 1800 245 677 or email communications@positivelife.org.au

Positive Life NSW is the voice of all people living with HIV in NSW since 1988. We are the largest peer-led and run representative body of all people living with HIV in Australia based in NSW. We make a significant contribution to and positive impact across the spectrum of health and social issues on behalf of all people living with HIV in collaboration with HIV specialist and mainstream services to improve the health and quality of life of all people living with HIV in NSW. We do this through evidence based health promotion, research, policy advice and peer support.

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