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The influencers: Sarah Feagan
When Sarah Feagan got sick more than ten years ago, the emergency physicians didn't think of HIV as a possible cause and it took some time before she was tested and diagnosed as HIV-positive. “I reacted to it badly, feeling I was a social pariah, unlovable and could only see the rejection and hate that can be directed at people with HIV,” says Sarah. “I stopped taking my antiretrovirals and ended up in hospital critically ill. It was only because my friends from Positive Women and my family showed me so much love and support that I decided I wanted to live, went back on the ARVs and got better."
On the board of the National Association of People with HIV Australia and a Peer Navigator for Living Positive Victoria, Sarah is an influential voice in the Australian HIV community. Sarah's major passion in her HIV sector work is in trying to improve the chances of early HIV diagnosis, and helping people with HIV to come to terms with their positive status. Sarah is also keen to encourage young positive women to take up leadership positions in the sector. "I'm very grateful that our older activists have made life better for us, but there needs to be a younger generation to replace them as they get older. We need a strong community to ensure that stigma is tackled and that an HIV diagnosis is not a cause for huge fear and anxiety."
Follow Sarah on Twitter here