International alert series: The BIG Issues - Fighting HIV and AIDS

What's required to achieve an HIV and AIDS free world

Tuesday 4 April 2006 - 5.30pm Adelaide Town Hall

Presented by World Vision Australia and AusAID and supported by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, UniSA

A series of bi-monthly forums, for dialogue, discussion and questions, on key international development issues involving and affecting the Australian community:  July 2005 - October 2006

Fighting HIV and AIDS

What’s required to achieve an HIV and AIDS free world?

HIV and AIDS are not going away. More than 40 million people are infected with HIV around the world and the number is increasing. In the Asia – Pacific region, countries such as Papua New Guinea are now experiencing a generalised epidemic. And the number of women newly infected with HIV now far outstrips that of men. This is a global disease that continues to infect young people in western countries as well as in developing nations. Speakers will provide a snapshot of where and how HIV and AIDS is affecting communities- particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and what types of educational and health intervention programs are making a difference.

Fighting HIV and AIDS: unedited audio transcript available here (16Mb mp3 file)


Ms Annmaree O'Keeffe, Australia's Special Representative on HIV/AIDS
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer, appointed Australia's first Special Representative for HIV/AIDS, Ms. Annmaree O'Keeffe, in July 2004.

The role of Australia's Special Representative for HIV/AIDS is to encourage the region's political, business and community leaders to provide the direction and support needed to meet the HIV/AIDS threat. The position is also intended to strengthen the Australian aid program's partnerships with individuals, organisations and institutes working on HIV/AIDS issues.

Ms O'Keeffe has more than 20 years experience in development and is well placed to promote further cooperation with Australia's regional partners. She is a steering committee member of the UNAIDS Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum and a consultative council member of the Australian National University Centre for Democratic Institutions. Ms O'Keeffe is also part of the external reference group for the International Pacific Asia Centre at Flinders University.

Ms O'Keeffe is concurrently Deputy Director General at Australia's Agency for International Development (AusAID) and is responsible for its Global Programs division. She oversees a wide variety of programs including multilateral organisations, health, population and gender, and humanitarian and emergencies issues.

Sister Patricia Pak Poy, Sisters of Mercy, Adelaide [presentation]
Sr Patricia Pak Poy is currently the Honorary President, and was the founding National Coordinator of the Australian Network of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a Network comprising most of the humanitarian, development and aid organisations in Australia, and includes professional groups, unions, religious and community groups. The Network supports a global ban on antipersonnel mines, the clearance of land of mines, and the rehabilitation of survivors and of mine-affected communities.

Currently she chairs Hope Adelaide Inc. which supports local groups working in development and in HIV/AIDS basic education in parts of Asia. She is Patron of Catherine House Inc established for the care and accommodation of women in need of shelter and housing in Adelaide. She is a member of the newly constituted Government National Consultative Committee on International Security and Peace, and of the Human Rights Council of Australia

Sr Pak Poy is a Sister of Mercy and was involved in the leadership teams of her Congregation for 15 years. She is a graduate in Arts and Education of the University of Adelaide was a teacher and principal at St Aloysius College Adelaide. She has served on the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, and on the national committee of Australian Catholic Relief (now Caritas Australia). She has kept up an association with the Mercy and Jesuit Refugee Services, and with the United Nations Association of Australia. She received a Ford Fellowship to undertake the Refugee Studies Programme in Oxford, with a special focus on refugee law.

Her community work in the Campaign has been recognised by her appointment as a Member of the Order or Australia, by the RSL 1998 ANZAC Peace Prize, and by awards from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Medical Association for the Prevention of War. More recently she was granted the ACFOA 2002 Human Rights Award by the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, (now the Australian Council for International Development) and an Australian Centenary Medal. She was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University by the Australian Catholic University in 2003.

Dr Susan Paxton, Director, Positive Response
Dr Susan Paxton is director of Positive Response, an independent HIV/AIDS consultancy.  She holds honorary positions at Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University; Burnet Centre for International Health; and APN+ (the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV).

She is an openly HIV-positive activist, passionately committed to training other positive people throughout the Asia Pacific region, particularly young women.

Her research indicates the significant impact of positive people as AIDS educators, as well as the challenges to meaningfully involving HIV-positive people in the response to AIDS. She was responsible for the first documentation of AIDS-related discrimination in Asia.

Susan carried the Olympic Torch on behalf of HIV-positive people for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Summary: Dr Susan Paxton
HIV infections are increasing globally and women bear the brunt of the epidemic; they are infected at younger ages, carry the burden of care and face significantly more AIDS-related discrimination than men do.  People living with HIV know what programs fail them and can be the key to creating effective strategies to reduce HIV infection rates and provide improved treatment and care to people already infected.  Women living with HIV significantly impact on young people’s attitudes to HIV & AIDS, but their unique expertise has rarely been effectively employed.

A successful public health response to AIDS requires the involvement of young women living with HIV in the design and implementation of policies and programs, and their active engagement as counsellors, educators and policy makers.  Women in the Asia Pacific region have begun to speak with a united voice and advocate for their peers.  International NGOs need to support nascent HIV-positive women’s support groups and commit to building the confidence and capacity of positive women so they are able to participate meaningfully in the HIV sector.

Other International Alert Series forums

All events will be held at the Adelaide Town Hall from 5.30pm - 7.00pm.  Schools Alert will be held from 4.00pm - 5.00pm.

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Tuesday 6 June 2006

Water Lessons

Defending ecosystems and resurrecting community rights
Tuesday 1 August 2006

Keeping the peace

Avoiding the cost of conflict in humanitarian aid
Tuesday 3 October 2006

Previous events

While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: strengthening our democracy – valuing our cultural diversity – and building our future.