Positive Speakers Bureau Update

By Abby Leota: Positive Speakers Bureau Coordinator

Did you know that our speakers have reached nearly 3000 people already this year? It’s true! We have 63 booking and delivered 45 talks throughout NZ from Dunedin to Kerikeri.

In June, four of our speakers shared their stories as part of the Positive Women Seminar held in Auckland. The seminar had some excellent topics covered and the speakers really helped connect the information we learnt to the lived experience.  We celebrated 25 Years of the MAC Viva Glam fundraising campaign and helped reinforce to the MAC staff just how important that money is for the HIV community.  We also spoke to hundreds of medical undergraduate and postgraduate groups from the University of Auckland, Unitec, Auckland University of Technology, and Otago Polytechnic – a pretty busy month!

In July, PSB speakers Jane and Damien were guest speakers at the Otago University Facility of Dentistry’s Clinical Excellence Day where 250+ oral health experts around NZ came to hear the latest on all things…..well – oral! This was a great opportunity for us to update the sector on U=U and where HIV is today.

And finally, some really exciting news is that we have secured some special one-off funding to build an online training module to upskill the HIV knowledge and understanding of our PSB Speakers. The training module will also be available for the wider community – really exciting stuff. More on the details will be shared as we get things finalised and we will keep you updated with progress.

As the famous Rachel Hunter says, “It doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen”.  The same applies with the PSB.  We affect long lasting change in attitudes by putting a face to HIV, destigmatising HIV, educating, and debunking the misinformed and out-of-date HIV myths. In fact, there is researched evidence to prove that people living with HIV sharing their story is one of the most effective ways to reduce HIV related stigma and discrimination.