You are here

Taking steps to raise awareness

We all know of the amazing advancements in HIV treatment: that taking a single pill a day suppresses the virus to such an extent that a positive person becomes non-infectious. But while the world of medicine has moved on leaps and bounds, some things have stayed stubbornly the same.

More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, an environment of ignorance and fear persists. In 2016, HIV-related stigma and discrimination is the number one barrier to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

Which is why a group of HIV activists — called the Hivsters (pictured) — are setting out on an eight-day 250 kilometres hike from Portland, Victoria to Penola, South Australia. 

The group will be hiking for up to 11 hours a day. On the way, they’ll stop off in towns in the back of beyond to spread awareness of HIV. “Our mission,” say the Hivsters, “is to dispel remaining myths that people living with HIV are somehow less capable of living full, rich lives or are restricted by their ‘condition’. HIV is not what it used to be. Treatments have changed and so should community perceptions. We are out to set the record straight.”

The Hivsters will do this by delivering educational talks and undertaking adventure challenges en route in an effort to show people that living well with HIV is indeed possible. “That’s what this walk is all about,” says hiker Stephen Watkins. “Showing everyone that HIV-positive people can do anything; that we can live well and proud — determined, resilient and unrestricted.”

The hike kicks off on Saturday 5 November. And the Hivsters need your help. There’s a GoFundMe page where people can donate dollars that will be used to supply the group with essentials such as accommodation and first-aid kits. As of 26 October, more than $13,000 had been donated (the goal is $16,000).

For more info head here.

latest news

August 22, 2017
A decision to subsidise PrEP has been deferred, much to the disappointment and frustration of HIV advocates.
July 26, 2017
Results from an Australian study show that HIV-positive men on treatment cannot transmit the virus.
June 22, 2017
Why is an easily curable disease once believed to be on the wane in Australia out of control?
June 6, 2017
Real-life exchanges between people on Grindr are at the centre of a new campaign spotlighting HIV stigma.
May 1, 2017
Flu season is here, and people — especially those with impaired immunity — are advised to get vaccinated.
April 19, 2017
Researchers are collating stories of family life in the context of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
March 7, 2017
“For me, being told that I couldn’t have children was harder than the diagnosis itself."
March 7, 2017
"People in heterosexual relationships seem to think that HIV could never affect them — but it does.”
March 3, 2017
The gut is referred to as the 'second brain' and plays a vital role in the body’s wellbeing.
March 3, 2017
Three decades ago, a journalist wrote a best-selling book forced America to take action against AIDS. 
March 3, 2017
Over the summer break we ran an online survey to find out what you think of Positive Living. 
March 3, 2017
A decade on, Timothy Ray Brown (aka the Berlin Patient) remains the only person cured of HIV.
March 3, 2017
Every person with HIV has to face the challenge of disclosure. So what do you do: tell all or keep shtum?
March 3, 2017
People with HIV living in remote areas of Australia face unique challenges. Four people share their stories.
March 1, 2017
In a major breakthrough, scientists in Geelong have discovered a protein that could prevent HIV.