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19 Jul 2018

Newsletter - Winter 2018

We've turned 35! With that milestone and our community's legacy in mind, we've changed our name to Thorne Harbour Health. This Winter 2018 edition of the newsletter features this big announcement as well as the recent LGBTIQ Women's Health Conference and the latest events going on around the organisation.

28 Mar 2018

VAC Newsletter - Autumn 2018

From PrEP to pool parties, Mooning to meningococcal — the latest edition of the VAC newsletter has heaps of photos, recaps, and updates on the latest goings on around VAC and the LGBTI communities we serve. Be sure to check out the Community Calendar on the back page.A special thanks to our growing army of volunteer Content Creators who have written some great articles for this edition. Be sure to have a read of what they've created.Download the online version here!Photo: VAC Queer Party by Mel Butters

22 Feb 2018

EOI for Disability Capacity Building Work Team

As one of Australia's largest HIV and LGBTI service providers, we're committed to supporting and promoting the health and wellbeing of sexually and gender diverse communities.We would like to invite expressions of interest from LGBTI community members with a disability who would like to join the VAC Disability Capacity Building Work Team for 2018.The team will be established to support us in improving inclusion of LGBTI people with a disability in service delivery, the creation of the first VAC Disability Report and Action Plan, and the development of a model for organisational capacity building that may be applied to other LGBTI and disability organisations to build capacity in services, including the development of the Victorian Pride Centre.Work team members will participate in a two-way mentoring process — building the organisational skills and knowledge of work team members as well as increase disability inclusion skills and knowledge of VAC staff.Purpose of the Advisory GroupReviewing our current practices against disability access best practice principlesIdentifying good practice and benchmarking the application of disability inclusion principlesDeveloping a LGBTI Disability Action Plan and associated frameworkTo assist in the development of a model for organisational capacity buildingTo affirm and assist in the development of LGBTI pride and disability pride within VAC and the broader communityOverseeing implementation of the planTo position LGBTI community members with a disability to advocate for disability enagement and inclusion in the Victorian Pride CentreAttendanceFinancial reimbursement will be provided as per Health Issue Centre Guidelines.Meeting Frequency & LocationMeetings will occur monthly or more frequently depending on need. The meetings will be held at VAC's head office at 615 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne.Application ProcessIf you would like to submit an expression of interest please forward the following to jackson.fairchild@vac.org.auResumeA letter briefly addressing the key points below.Demonstrated understanding of the lived experience of LGBTI people with a disabilityInterest in developing further knowledge and skills in capacity building for LGBTI and mainstream services around LGBTI Disability inclusion.Availability to commit to regular advisory group meetings.Applications close Midnight 11th March, 2018.

22 Dec 2017

VAC Newsletter - Summer 2017/2018

This issue of the VAC newsletter includes a recap of World AIDS Day 2017, the VAC Annual General Meeting, the recent outbreak of Meningococcal in Melbourne, community partnerships across Victoria, the summer events calendar, and the LGBTI people seeking asylum in Australia.

20 Nov 2017

2017 VAC Annual General Meeting

During this year's Annual General Meeting, Life Membership was awarded to:Emeritus Professor Anne Mitchell AO - for her extensive work in community development and as an adult educator with over twenty years of experience in the field of sexual health.Brian Price - for his leadership in the establishment of service models that are vital for people living with HIV and those at high risk of HIV infection.Associate Professor Ruth McNair - for her work as a clinician and researcher in lesbian and bisexual women’s mental health, sexual health, and cultural issues related to alcohol and smoking in LGBTI communities.In addition, we presented the following awards:President's Award: Human Rights Law Centre -The passionate staff of the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) work tirelessly to end LGBTI discrimination in the law and to protect and promote the rights of LGBTI people.Greig Friday Young Leader Award: Margot Fink - As one of the first members of our Trans and Gender Diverse Advisory Group, Margot provided key advice in establishing Equinox. She was also the former Head of Gender Diverse Projects for Minus18 and their communications coordinator when they were under attack by media scrutinising the Safe Schools program.Media Award: James Hancock - At the ABC, James has given voice to some of the marginalised communities we work with and raised the profile of critical gaps in LGBTI service provision and healthcare.Special Service Award: Associate Professor Edwina Wright - As an infectious diseases physician and clinical researcher at the Alfred Hospital and the Burnet Institute, Edwina has a strong interest in HIV-associated neurological disorders, and she is leading the PrEPX demonstration project.Special Service Award: Dean Arcuri - Radio presenter, photographer, journalist, performer — Dean wears several hats in our community and with a large portion of his work being on a volunteer basis, his tireless efforts have made our community a richer one.Special Service Award: Dimitri Christou - Initially volunteering in HIV peer support, Dimitri has engaged with almost every aspect of our volunteer program. With lived experience and a thorough understanding of HIV, he has turned his attention to HIV prevention roles.Special Service Award: Kelly McGowan - Since 2013, Kelly has provided invaluable support for World AIDS Day ribbons each year. Kelly and her team have produced over 30,000 red ribbons, nearly one year’s stock!We also released our 2016/2017 Annual Report featuring a collection of portraits featuring community members with 'if' statements that reflect on the discrimination and stigma faced by LGBTI people and PLHIV around the globe. You can check out the latest issue and previous annual reports here.

20 Nov 2017

PLC Newsletter - Summer 2017

21 Sep 2017

VAC Newsletter - Spring 2017

With the marriage equality survey underway, our community is keeping incredibly active at the moment. This issue of the VAC newsletter looks at some of the ways we've been taking action and how you can look after your wellbeing. We also look back at our third annual Lesbian, Bisexual & Queer Women's Health Conference, co-presented with ACON, and look forward to the 25th Anniversary of the Victorian Red Ribbon in the lead up to World AIDS Day. There's plenty more in this edition so check it out!

07 Sep 2017

Joint statement supporting a medically supervised injecting centre trial in Victoria

VAC has joined with 42 other organisations and individuals calling for a trial of a medically supervised injection centre in Victoria.As leading community health organisations, peak bodies and advocates, we call on the Victorian Government to pass the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2017.The trial of a medically supervised injecting centre (MSIC) in Richmond has widespread support from leading health experts and organisations, the Yarra City Council, and community leaders and businesses. Importantly, people who inject drugs also support a trial of an MSIC in Richmond, and coroners have now made formal recommendations in support of it as well.MSICs are facilities where people can inject drugs under medical supervision. This reduces the harms associated with injecting drug use, namely fatal overdose and the transmission of bloodborne viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Other harms such as accidents, injection related injuries and infections, and stigmatisation of people who inject drugs are also reduced. MSICs also allow for a rapid response in the event of an overdose, the distribution of information about safer drug use practices, referrals to social support services, and treatment and other medical services.The first MSIC opened in Switzerland in 1986, and Australia currently has one site, which has been operating in Kings Cross, Sydney, since 2001. There are now approximately 100 supervised injecting centres worldwide, a number likely to increase as governments recognise the importance of addressing substance use and harm from a health perspective rather than a law enforcement perspective. Canada has recently approved a number of these sites across their provinces, including three in Toronto alone, in response to the increases in drug-related overdoses. Remarkably, there has not been a single drug overdose fatality in any of the MSICs operating worldwide despite many having been in operation for decades. Meanwhile in Victoria there were over 900 fatal overdoses in the last two years alone.Street-based injecting can often occur soon after purchasing substances, close to the point of sale, and in a hurry. MSICs move injecting drug use off the street and reduce associated harms. They also reduce the number of publicly discarded needles, which pose a potential health risk. This is important given that North Richmond needle and syringe program distributes 70,000 syringes each month, some of which residents report finding discarded in public spaces. In addition, MSICs reduce the demand on emergency services, which leads to significant cost savings and economic benefits.The remarkable success of Sydney’s MSIC, and others worldwide, provides a viable model for Victoria to emulate; one that works in the best interest of those who use the facility, the surrounding communities, and the community at large.The evidence is overwhelming, MSICs work. We urge the Andrews Government to follow the advice of health experts, residents, and community leaders, and allow an 18-month trial of an MSIC in Richmond.Download the joint statement to see the full list of signatories.

03 Aug 2017

Joint Statement Opposing the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2017

“LGBTI communities are disproportionately impacted by drug use. The criminalisation of personal possession and use of drugs is counterproductive, adds to stigma and discrimination within these populations, and doesn’t recognise that substance abuse is a health problem that no amount of law enforcement can fix.” - VAC CEO Simon Ruth

29 Jun 2017

PLC Newsletter - Winter 2017

Winter has well and truly arrived here in Melbourne, but we're not slowing down activity!Take a look at the latest edition of the VAC Positive Living Centre (PLC) Newsletter, which is full of stories about what's been happening at the PLC and what's coming up.Make sure you also take a look at the calendar of upcoming events—there's a lot happening!

19 Jun 2017

VAC launches Protocol for the Initiation of Hormone Therapy for Trans and Gender Diverse Patients

The Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) is proud to release our Protocol for the Initiation of Hormone Therapy for Trans and Gender Diverse Patients, based on the informed consent model.Created by VAC for Equinox, the guide was designed and developed with rigorous community consultation to remove uneccesary barriers in accessing hormone therapies. This is the first publicly released clinical guidelines that were developed with and for the TGD community.Download the guide in the link below.

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