The Fourth Annual HIV Women’s Seminar was held at the Maritime Room in Auckland's beautiful Viaduct Harbour. 109 participants were greeted at the registration table with a friendly smile from Rosemary and Chalita, volunteers from the Auckland Soroptimist Society who have been sponsoring Positive Women Inc. for the past 2 years.
The first speaker of the day was Kjel Griffiths who spoke about the Positive Speakers Bureau (PSB) from her own personal experience as a recently trained speaker for the PSB and highlighting the power of having a person living with HIV speak at any training or educational event to help put a face and perspective to living with HIV.
The second presenter of the day was Sue McAlister, hot back in NZ after a time working in Indonesia. Sue presented the latest HIV Epidemiological statistics for NZ with a focus on women.
This was followed with a presentation by Dr Dominic Ray-Chaudri who gave a very informative presentation on HIV and Hepatitis co-infection. It was very disheartening to hear how there is a cure for Hepatitis yet NZ is not currently funding the medication putting it out of financial reach for most people.
Dr Stephen Ritchie spoke next on the issue of growing older with HIV. A very interesting and entertaining presentation which gave an excellent overview of the aging process and how HIV fits within that process.
Marguerite followed on from Dr Ritchie’s presentation with a personal story of aging with HIV which was very powerful and warmly received.
After lunch, Fatima (our cover girl) spoke about being born with HIV and growing up through her teens as a young person living with HIV. A very powerful presentation which highlighted the complexities such a young person faces.
Rebecca Flanagan from the Auckland Starship paediatric HIV clinic followed on to explain the work the paediatric team does with young people living with HIV. It was great to hear about the amazing work this team does and to watch the disclosure video produced by Rebecca and some young volunteer actors who participated in the video.
Dr Alison Copeland followed, sharing her experience of working as a GP with a high case load of people living with HIV.
The day ended as it had begun, with a story told by Heather about her experience of receiving a late HIV diagnoses and the repercussions she still has to deal with. It was a good place to finish as it followed last years advocacy
theme about ensuring HIV is offered as a test in any diagnostic process which is the bases of the Positive Women Inc. testing Campaign.
It was a great day made possible due to our main sponsors, MAC AIDS Fund, Lottery Grants, Gilead, GSK/Viiv, MOH and Merck Sharp & Dohme.