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By Caroline Bree
I hope you have all enjoyed some rest, relaxation and happy times with friends and family over the summer. I have spent a quiet holiday period recovering from an ankle operation. At the moment our thoughts are with Board member Jan, who has had an anxious time with the flooding in Mataura.
The first Board meeting of 2020 was timed to coincide with the Auckland Pride Festival. Our guest speaker was Ngaire from the Ministry of Health, who talked about likely changes to funding over the next few years. Members who attended the 2019 Women’s Retreat will have heard our National Coordinator Jane speak about the challenges of an increasingly competitive funding environment. As the number of new diagnoses decreases and medication allows people living with the virus to stay well, HIV is inevitably seen as less of a priority. Currently the Government’s focus is on Mental Health, which has been underfunded for a long time.
At our AGM last year Positive Women Inc members were emphatic about the importance of knowing support is there when they need it.The Women’s Retreat is the highlight of the year for those able to attend, enabling them to go back out into the world knowing they are not alone.
Combatting stigma through education, visibility campaigns and the Positive Speakers Bureau is our other core activity. Jane and the wonderful Operations team have been very successful at achieving media coverage, especially around World AIDS Day.
Collaboration will be a key to our survival and the Board discussed natural alliances with NZAF and Body Positive, Women’s Health and Mental Health providers. I also want to thank Raewyn for stepping up to cover the very important Treasurer role.
Before boarding flights for home the Board members enjoyed a sunny day at the Big Gay Out. Fatima and Enatha served the hungry hordes at the HIV + Cafe while Heather and Raewyn met and chatted with visitors to the HIV Lounge. I just stumbled around in my moon boot catching up with friends.