Positive Life regularly travels to regional, rural and remote locations in NSW to offer a minimum of four rural outreach sessions per year, to listen and hear what it’s like for people living with HIV in regional and rural areas of NSW. We do this in partnership with local health district HARP units, sexual health services and state-wide services.
At these outreach sessions we offer people living with HIV an opportunity to sit down and talk with someone else living with HIV, and share stories and strategies. These sessions also help to put people living with HIV in contact with health service providers, offer information and resources to people living with HIV including HIV and sexual health service partners, as well as build the capacity of people living with HIV to live well with HIV.
Examples of rural and regional outreach conversations include questions like
- what are your main challenges living with HIV in a rural or regional setting?
- what advocacy do you want or need?
- what barriers do you have living with HIV in a rural or regional setting?
- Armidale and Tamworth, 2021
- Tweed Heads and Lismore, 2021
- Newcastle, 2021
- Broken Hill, 2021
- Dubbo and Orange, 2021
- Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Bega, Eurobodalla Shire, November 2020
- Coffs Harbour/Port Macquarie, Kempsey, November 2020
- Tamworth, May 2019
- Albury and Wagga Wagga, March 2019
- Dubbo and Orange, March 2018
- Kiama (Wollongong, Shell Harbour, Nowra and Surrounding Areas), April 2017
- Coffs Harbour, February 2017
- Port Macquarie, February 2017
- Tamworth, May 2016
- Lismore, April 2016
- Tweed Heads, April 2016
Dubbo/Orange (March 2018)
- These community consultations included out-of-area attendees who travelled to avoid risk of community disclosure.
- Range of PLHIV included heterosexual men and women and same sex attracted men, from Aboriginal and Caucasian backgrounds living with HIV ranging from 18 months to 30 plus years.
- Issues raised included the intersection of HIV and racism, stigma and discrimination, obtaining correct and timely information about HIV, tenancy and domestic violence issues, and dispensing fees charged for HIV medication.
Nowra/Kiama (July-August 2018)
- Three community pharmacists were consulted in the Kiama area. All identified the common concern being the cost of their stocking HIV medications, but were happy to provide this service if approached by PLHIV.
- Discussions with clinical staff in Nowra highlighted an increasing blurring of sexual preferences in the selection of partners especially amongst young people.
- A rise in methamphetamine use corresponded with a rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which raised concerns about an increase in HIV notifications.
- Recommendations included the community consultation and representation (where service providers are present) would have a better uptake if Positive Life NSW peers attended local social engagement/social activities e.g. bingo evenings, to talk to people informally one-to-one and provide resources.