World AIDS Day 2007
Aids and HIV affect more people than many of us would wish to admit to. That is one of the reasons why the Gold Coast Drug Council, along with Queensland Association Health Council (QAHC), and Queensland Injectors Health Network (QuIHN), put on an event to promote awareness. Stereotypically, most people believe that Aids/HIV only effects the homosexual community in Australia, and this is a dangerous myth. Substance users and abusers take high risks when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and it is important that they realise that they are not only ruining their lives with drugs, but they are putting themselves at risk of contracting Aids/HIV.
The event held on the 28th of November as part of national aids awareness week was a huge success. Christine Smith, the local member for Burleigh spoke about the ambivalence some people now have about Aids/HIV because of Australia’s success in curbing the spread of the disease. Ged Farmer from QAHC, spoke about their various programs aimed at preventing the spread of HIV/Aids, and also supporting those with the disease. Nick Alexander from QuIHN talked about their Mix-Up program, aimed at educating current drug users about injecting safely, and encouraging them to then educate their peers. Nick also spoke about their needle exchange programs, which are, it must be said, the primary reason for Australia’s success in curbing the incidence of HIV/Aids in our communities.
Through working collaboratively with other health services in the area, the Gold Coast Drug Council was able to put on this fantastic event. Torres Straight Islander dancers entertained us, and some of the residents of the therapeutic community showed off their musical talents. It was truly a team effort, and worth every minute if even one person avoids a high risk situation and values themselves just that little more because of the event.