The annual World AIDS Day awards were announced at this year's World AIDS Day celebration and reflection held at the AIDS memorial.
The WA AIDS Council aknowledged the commitment of individuals and organisations which have supported our cause in 2011.
Individual Award – DON BAXTER
For an individual who has made a significant personal contribution in the Global, Australian and Western Australian HIV/AIDS response.
Don Baxter has worked tirelessly in the Australian HIV/AIDS response since the emergence of the epidemic. He, along with other Australian pioneers, crafted the initial community based responses on the east coast of Australia and which contributed to the ongoing participation of the community sector within the HIV/AIDS partnership.
Don was born and raised in rural Victoria. In the 70s, Don ‘came out’ and began his activism, initially to fight for decriminalisation for gay men in NSW. Ten years later when the HIV/AIDS epidemic started, he became a staunch HIV/ AIDS advocate.
He was a founding Board Member of the AIDS Council of NSW and one of the early Presidents. He then joined the staff and was the Executive Director for six years. In 1996, when treatments became a reality, he left the HIV/AIDS sector and joined the Australia Council for 5 years.
He returned to the HIV/AIDS sector as the Executive Director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations in 2001, retiring in 201. However Don will still be actively involved in global HIV/AIDS activism as a representative on various international boards and global forums.
From the perspective of the WA AIDS Council Don has provided astute advice and counsel when needed and provided advocacy regarding a number of policy issues. However Don’s broader contribution to the HIV epidemic in Australia cannot be underestimated. He was, and is, a steady voice, an incredibly strategic and political thinker who in a quiet and very unassuming way has ensured that the Australian response has stayed on track. Many problems have been avoided or averted because Don had the capacity to foresee issues before they emerged. In his own words ‘one of the biggest components of my job is stopping people doing silly things’.
HIV Positive Person Award – GRAEME DIXON
For an HIV positive individual who has had a significant impact in HIV/AIDS awareness raising.
Graeme Dixon is 73 years and has been HIV positive for 20 years. He has two sons and one daughter, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Graeme moved to Perth in May 2011 after six years living in Adelaide. Graeme’s passion for art saw him volunteer to facilitate the Art Box workshops at WAAC and he has guided and inspired others to enhance their well-being through art. Graeme also facilitated a similar program with Positive Living in South Australia.
In Graeme’s words, ‘I felt I wanted to give something back and to contribute to my community’……’to be part of a group that sees people grow from not being confident at all about their capacity to be creative, to feeling confident and fulfilled, is extremely rewarding.’
Graeme’s spirit warms us all……
Group or Association Award – Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre
For a group which has made a significant contribution to the HIV/AIDS response.
For a few years, the MMRC has been providing sexual health education and awareness using theatre based methodology for young people and more recently with the general community. This year the MMRC worked collaboratively with the WA AIDS Council to provide Community Educator Training in HIV for community leaders and professionals. The eight week course was delivered at the MMRC and has resulted in a number of community based initiatives around HIV health promotion. The MMRC, the WA AIDS Council and the Uthando project collaborated in a ‘Train the Trainer’ Workshop which provided another innovative approach to working collaboratively with migrant communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award – SHARON CLEWS
For an Aboriginal/ Torres Strait Islander individual who has made a significant contribution in HIV prevention and/or care in WA for Aboriginal people
Sharon is a Wongi woman from the Goldfields of WA with qualifications in Health Promotion and a Master of Public Health who has spent the past nine years working in various roles in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations in Victoria and WA. She is currently working as a Policy Officer in the Department of Health in the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus program. Officer.
In 2011 Sharon undertook a state-wide consultation with regard to the Aboriginal sexual health and blood borne strategy. This resulted in a productive partnership with the Aboriginal Health Council of WA for the Aboriginal Research Roundtable meeting. This has led to Aboriginal Medical Services recognising sexual health as an important issue and prioritising it into service delivery.
Youth Award - Youth Educating Peers – YEP project YACWA
An individual or group who have made a significant contribution to awareness, education and prevention efforts, particularly related to youth.
Funded by the Department of Health, the Youth Educating Peers (YEP) Project aims to increase the WA youth sector’s capacity to identify and respond to young people’s sexual health and blood borne virus education and support needs.
The YEP Project collaborated with six WA youth sector agencies, including 13 youth workers and over 50 young people, to trial the development of the sexual health and blood borne virus peer education programs. It aims to mobilise the WA youth sector’s interest in young people’s sexual health needs and rights by implementing peer-based strategies in informal and out-of-school youth sector settings. The project has been funded for a further 3 years which is fantastic for the youth and sexual health sector.
Rural and Remote award – Goldfields Population Health Unit led by Dr Charles Douglas
For an individual or group who has made a significant contribution to the HIV/AIDS response in rural and remote Western Australia.
The Goldfields Population Health Unit provides essential clinical services to a number of people living with HIV and AIDS in the region. In addition the unit provides sexual health screening, testing and treatment. The unit also undertake all the health promotion and education regarding HIV and other blood borne viruses. This is a complex task because of the different groups of people living in the region and their differing needs. In late November 2011, the Population Health Unit held a Red Ribbon Ball to raise HIV awareness which was well attended and looks like becoming an annual event.
Media Award – SCOOP Magazine
For an individual or media group who contributed in a positive manner to the education and awareness of the general public through the media.
SCOOP magazine is part of the SCOOP publishing group established in 1997 producing the eight leading magazine titles in Western Australia. It remains an independent locally owned and operated business aimed at providing Western Australians and visitors to WA essential information about topics of local interest and showcasing local businesses and people. It is also committed to supporting the community and not for profit sector. For a number of years it has provided great support to the WA AIDS Council with its fundraising efforts.
In 2011, SCOOP published a well researched and written piece on HIV and sexual health matters in WA. It was comprehensive and accurate and quite possibly one of the best articles written on HIV and sexual health in a mainstream magazine.
Health Services Award – GP on Beaufort
For an individual or group who have provided essential health or clinical services in the prevention and treatment of HIV.
GP on Beaufort (and its earlier incarnations) has provided clinical services for people living with HIV since the beginning of the HIV epidemic and has consistently had s100 prescribers working in the clinic. In WA, community based S100 prescribers are an extremely precious resource as most of our services have developed around the tertiary hospitals. GP on Beaufort also work very closely with the M Clinic and other sexual health service providers providing consultation and advice for staff.
The WA AIDS Council would like to pay particular tribute to Dr Ric Chaney, one of the GP on Beaufort practice doctors who has been an unsung hero in the WA epidemic for many years.
Paul Briggs – Chairperson’ Award
Paul Briggs has made an incredible contribution to the WA AIDS Council as a ‘Buddy’ in Positive Services for the past 17 years. This effort has made very positive differences in the lives of people living with HIV as Paul has always been supportive, empathic and dependable over the years. For the past eleven years, Paul has provided care and emotional support for the same client which has made an enormous difference to the well-being of that person.
David Martin – Executive Director’s Award
David first came to WAAC as a workshop participant. He was very enthusiastic about contributing to the work of the Council and became involved in workshop facilitation. After completing volunteer training and induction courses, David has facilitated different workshops namely Men on Men, Cruising 101, Nitty Gritties, and the Men on Men retreat in 2011. He also has volunteered to help facilitate the new 26 Up men’s social group. David also volunteers with the Safe Sex Angels and attends as many LGBTIQ events for the angels as he can.