Hey there Guys,
This week is there is a significant change happening for HIV education in Queensland Australia.
As previous discussed in “The Political Price Of HIV Education“, Queensland Healthy Communities (QAHC) had a huge chunk of their HIV education funding removed. This week is the cut off date for the funding and QHAC will be reducing staff leaving 10 people to look after HIV prevention efforts for gay men in Queensland.
QAHC does recieve funding from other sources however the loss of funding from the Queensland government is a significant blow.
Currently Queensland Health has put together an advisory council designed to advise the health Minister Lawrence Springborg. After discussion with the head of this council, Dr Darren Russel, he shared that the group has now met twice and indeed advice has been sent to the minister. What is going to happen from here forward is at the discretion of the government.
I understand a broad based health campaign is planned for release however it’s unlikely to be aimed directly at gay men the highest risk group for HIV infection.
In a wonderfully symbolic gesture, QAHC’s last “big billboard campaign” was released this week with the return of the controversial “Rip And Roll” campaign.
Check out this video for a reminder of the original Rip and Roll campaign and it’s controversy:
2012 Rip and Roll Video & Posters
I’m really excited to see the inclusion of a transsexual male as part of the campaign. For many years the transsexual community has been invisible in HIV education messages other then “adding colour or entertainment”. Transgendered, and intersex persons for that matter, are sexual beings, we all are. To ignore people different to the “standard gay male” has been a huge disservice. All sexually active people should be included in sexual health campaigns. I would have loved to have seen a big ol’ sexy bear as well! That would absolutely have me ripping and rolling!
To see the inclusion of Jaxxon Chilli is a wonderful step forward to acknowledging that HIV affects all people, a great step towards addressing the lack of visual representation of trans men in the community.
So at this time it is difficult to say exactly what is going to happen for HIV education in Queensland. While the fantastic campaigns by Queensland Positive People, NAPWA continue we are yet to see if there is going to be meaningful, connected messages of HIV education for gay men from a Queensland Health funded body.
Queenslanders are not a significantly different population. GBLTI people continue to be at the highest risk group for HIV in the western world. Why are they being ignored in Qld? Watch this space.
Yours in good health