Australia’s longest running HIV charity, the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF), has marked the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day by reminding the community that longterm survivors of the HIV epidemic are still here and still need our support.
World AIDS Day is an international day to commemorate and remember those we have lost to AIDS related illnesses, celebrate how far we’ve come in fighting the epidemic, and raise awareness of issues people living with HIV face today.
While HIV treatment and medications have come a long way in the past 40 years since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation wants to remind us that HIV stigma is still prevalent today and that HIV is not over for the approximate 30,000 people living with the virus in Australia in 2023.
Much of what is covered in the media relating to HIV is around reduced transmissions, and how in the inner cities transmission of HIV is effectively now zero.
But over 50% of PLHIV are ageing and many of BGF clients experience social isolation, financial insecurity, survivors’ guilt from surviving the HIV/AIDS epidemic and have complex physical health conditions associated with the early HIV medications that they needed to take to survive.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under contestant Hollywould Star is a Community Ambassador for BGF and said that it was important that younger members of the LGBTIQA+ community were engaged with World AIDS Day.
“It’s so important for the younger queer community to reflect on World AIDS Day and understand the hardships that Long-Term Survivors faced and know our history,” Star said.
“BGF keeps our history alive.”
Long-Term Survivors are people who have been living with HIV for over 25 years and are the first generation to age with HIV and many put their bodies on the line for HIV/AIDS drug trials which led to the effective HIV medication we have today such as PrEP, PEP and Antiretroviral therapy.
BGF’s World AIDS Day appeal, “We’re Still Here” recognises that HIV is “not over” for the 30,000 people still living with HIV in Australia and that BGF is still here supporting people living with HIV, as we have done for nearly four decades.
The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation was founded in 1984 and borne out of a response by Bobby’s friends and family to care for him in the comfort and safety of his own home and pass away with the dignity he deserved.
Bobby Goldsmith was one of the first people in Australia to pass away from an AIDS related illness.
Next year BGF is celebrating 40 years of supporting people living with HIV to thrive.
BGF supports people living with HIV to not just survive, but thrive by providing emotional, financial and practical everyday support and care.
It also helps community members have a sense of connection and belonging through its health and wellbeing programs.
You can help share Australia’s rich queer history and amplify the voices of people living with HIV by following Bobby Goldsmith Foundation on their social media
You can also reach out to BGF if you want to learn more about HIV, find out how BGF could support you or how you can support BGF.
Head to BGF’s World AIDS Day appeal which shares the stories of Long-Term Survivors and ways that you can make a difference to the lives of people living with HIV this World AIDS Day.
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