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Would you like to work for Straight Arrows? We’re Hiring!


Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Come work for us as a Peer Support Officer

Straight Arrows is seeking a Peer Support Officer to join our peer support team. The role of the Peer Support Officer is to provide dynamic, peer led programs, which foster the resilience and emotional, social and physical wellbeing of heterosexual men, all women and children living with HIV and their families. It is the role of the Peer Support Officer to support the health and wellbeing of members living with HIV by creating an enabling environment in which individuals are empowered to realise their aspirations, meet their needs and participate fully in society.

Part time position, 12 hours per week.

SCHADS Award – Level 4

A salary packaging option is available.

Prerequisites:

  • relevant degree with one year’s relevant experience; associate diploma with relevant experience;
  • lesser formal qualifications with substantial years of relevant experience; or
  • attained through previous appointments, service and/or study, an equivalent level of expertise and experience to undertake a range of activities,

and

  • ability to create and develop positive linkages with the HIV community;
  • highly developed communication and interpersonal skills and excellent organisational skills;
  • ability to work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and individuals living with a disability;
  • a current and valid driver's licence and the ability to undertake some travel; and
  • satisfactory Police Records Check and Working with Children Check are required.

Send applications to executiveofficer@straightarrows.org.au or mail to Sara Graham, Executive officer, Straight Arrows, 1/111 Coventry St, Southbank 3006 VIC. For a confidential discussion about the role, we encourage you to contact Sara Graham – Straight Arrows manager on 03 9863 9414. Download a copy of the position description here.

Applications close 12 December 2016.

Living Positive Victoria and Straight Arrows take child safety very seriously have a zero tolerance approach to child harm.

Are You Living Positive Victoria's Next Top Model?


Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Living Positive Victoria is refreshing our website and part of that is to add photos of people to put a human face to HIV, showcase the work we do and highlight the diversity of people we support.

This is open to ALL people with HIV and anyone else who supports the work of the organisation. There will be a variety of photo styles taken so if you’re not comfortable showing your face we can easily work around that.

Photos will start to take place from the end of October. If you’re interested or know anyone who would be interested please send in your contact details (see below) and we’ll be in touch with more detail.

For more information contact Randelle, 9863 8733, randerson@livingpositivevictoria@org.au

Treatment as Prevention (TasP): What is TasP and How Does it Affect Me?


Posted on Wednesday, November 02, 2016

What is an Undetectable Viral Load?

HIV treatment can reduce a person’s viral load – the amount of virus in blood and other bodily fluids – until it is ‘undetectable’, unable to be measured by current standard lab tests. Having an undetectable viral load is not a cure for HIV. There is still HIV present in the body but it cannot be measured. Importantly, recent research shows it cannot be passed on to other people.

What is Treatment as Prevention?

Relying on an undetectable viral load to prevent passing on HIV is called Treatment as Prevention. Recent research has shown that there is negligible risk of passing on HIV if a person has an undetectable viral load. Data released from the PARTNER Study in 2016 found there were no HIV transmissions between 888 sero-discordant heterosexual and gay couples – who between them had condomless sex an estimated 58,213 times – where the HIV Positive partner had a viral load under 200 copies/ml.

A couple may rely on an undetectable viral load as a means of HIV prevention if the following conditions are met:

  • Viral load must have been undetectable for at least 6 months. This is measured by a viral load test which measures the amount of virus in a person’s blood. While the amount of virus present in other fluids such as semen or vaginal fluids may differ, recent research shows that an undetectable viral load indicates that there is negligible risk of HIV transmission.
  • Medication must be taken as prescribed. Strict adherence to medication is important in achieving and maintaining an undetectable viral load. Missed doses can lead to medication being less effective, increasing your viral load and the possibility of developing resistance to the drug you are taking.
  • There are no other STIs. For people with multiple partners regular STI checks are important.

Making Choices about HIV Prevention

Treatment as Prevention is viewed as being a reliable protection against HIV. Some couples choose to rely on Treatment as Prevention for HIV prevention. Others prefer the reassurance that comes with combining an undetectable viral load with condoms. Some couples may rely on condoms but use Treatment as Prevention at specific times in their life, such as when they want to conceive a baby. Increasingly doctors are reluctant to prescribe measures such as PrEP for sero-different couples as a prevention method if the HIV positive partner has an undetectable viral load and good adherence to medication.

While HIV medication can reduce the chance of passing on HIV to negligible it does not prevent other STIs. It is important to use condoms to prevent other STIs and have regular STI checks if you are having sex with multiple partners or if you are unaware of your partner’s STI status. Contraception is also important if you wish to prevent pregnancy. It is also important to be aware that not everyone living with HIV will be able to reduce their viral load to undetectable. In that case condoms and PrEP are alternative methods of HIV prevention.

If you need further help in making decisions about HIV prevention our Peer Support Officer at Straight Arrows can be a good person to talk to, as can your HIV doctor.

Strategic Plan Development


Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2016

As part of developing our strategic plan, Living Positive Victoria and Straight Arrows would like to invite our members to provide input to ensure that your priorities and needs are taken into account.

The following survey has been created to collect feedback on current programs and services and identify what areas the merged organisation should focus on in the future.

The survey should take no more than 15 minutes. Click the link below to get started.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LivingPosandSA

TWO iN ONE: Managing HIV and Hepatits C


Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Living with both HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) can be difficult, but new treatments and developments have changed everything. Come join a discussion with experts on HIV and HCV and learn about the new treatments, how to reduce your risk, new methods of prevention, and living well with HIV and HCV.

The Hare Hole at Hares & Hyenas
63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Wednesday, 24th August 2016, 6:30pm

Light refreshments provided

Speakers:
Melanie Eagle (Hepatitis Victoria)
Brent Allan (Living Positive Victoria)
Joel Murray (The Positive Speakers Bureau)
Dr Joe Sasadeusz (The Royal Melbourne Hospital)

Straight Arrows and Living Positive Victoria Members Vote to Merge


Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

On 4th August, 2016 members of Straight Arrows and Living Positive Victoria voted unanimously to merge our organisations.

 

We would like to thank everyone involved for their vision, hard work and support through this journey. We would particularly like to thank the Department of Health and Human Services, for their continued financial and logistical support, and Hive Legal and Arnold Bloch Leibler for providing pro-bono legal advice throughout this process.

We are planning expanded services for women and heterosexual men living with HIV and their partners and families. We are also looking forward to being better able to represent and advocate for the needs of women and heterosexual men at both the state and federal level. While there is a process in place to put the merger into effect we are continuing to offer our regular services and we will keep members informed about the progress.

We are excited about a bright future for all positive people in Victoria, moving forward, stronger together.

Double Hey is Double Happiness - TasP loves PrEP


Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2016

On Thursday the 16th June Living Positive Victoria and its partners, including the Victorian AIDS Council, VicPrEP and PrEP Access Now among others launched their Double Happiness Campaign. This is the marriage of Treatment as Prevention (TasP) and PrEP.

TasP is where a person who is HIV-positive uses anti-HIV drugs to reduce the virus in their bloodstream to an undetectable level. Although HIV is still present in their bodies, it is so low that passing on HIV through sex is highly unlikely (by at least 93%).

PrEP is where a person who does not have HIV takes anti-HIV drugs to prevent them becoming HIV-positive. When taken daily and with regular three monthly sexual health check-ups, it reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 99%.

Together TasP and PrEP provide HIV-positive and HIV-negative people the opportunity to both take steps to prevent HIV transmission.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy spoke of the power to prevent new HIV transmissions using TasP and PrEP in todays' society and was followed by a member of the Positive Speakers Bureau and a PreP user. This launch sends Victoria into a new era of HIV healthcare and is fast becoming a world leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

A Draft of Rules for Members Review


Posted on Friday, June 17, 2016

As you will be aware both Straight Arrows and Living Positive Victoria have been planning a merger for some time now. As part of that process we have been working alongside our legal advisors, HIVE Legal, to prepare a draft of the rules of incorporation for the merged entity. The new rules incorporate the operations, governance and membership of Living Positive Victoria and Straight Arrows into a single governing set of rules.

We are delighted to present a draft of the rules for your consideration. These rules have been drafted by the Strengthening Positive Voices Working Group, comprised of members of the boards and management of both Straight Arrows and Living Positive Victoria, in consultation with our legal team. This draft considers the many changes required to ensure that the merger of the current business entities is equitable and inclusive.

We value your feedback on these rules. They can be accessed here. If you have any questions or comments or if you would like further clarification please contact Sara Graham, executiveofficer@straightarrows.org.au or Jeffrey Robertson, chair@straightarrows.org.au.

Latitude Members Day


Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2016

On Sunday the 29th May Straight Arrows, along with many members, some with and without children attended our Winter Members Day. We arrived at Latitude, a premier jumping and climbing center, with excitement and anticipation. Over the course of the hour session, there was plenty to do including, trampolines, bouncy basketball, high ropes course and foam pit jousting. The kids and adults alike all got involved and a special highlight was seeing one of our kids rule the jousting zone with steel and vigor. It was then off to Cellini for an Italian lunch. Food was plentiful and everyone left with a smile on their face. We would like to thank all those who participated in the day and to anyone who was unable to attend we will be having another one later in the year with dates and location to be advised.

Straight Arrows and Living Positive Victoria are merging!


Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Joint statement from the Chair of Straight Arrows and the President of Living Positive Victoria.

After years of working together, Living Positive Victoria and Straight Arrows are pleased to announce the merging of the two organisations which will have a greater capacity to support all people living with HIV in Victoria.

Since 2014 March, the Strengthening Positive Voices (SPV) working group has met bi-weekly to explore the potential opportunities of merging of both organisations.

“The vision of Straight Arrows and Living Positive Victoria are intertwined,” says Jeffery Robertson, Chair of Straight Arrows. “Together, we can better allocate time and resources which will be put back into services and improving the lives of all our members.”

The vision is centred on expanding and enhancing the range of support services available to people living with HIV. The diversity of those living with HIV include heterosexual men, families and women which has been the focus of Straight Arrows since 1995.

“For Living Positive Victoria, this merger brings new skills, insight and lived experience that broadens our reach and enables us to better advocate and support the diversity of people as reflected in our membership,” says Richard Keane, President of Living Positive Victoria.

The SPV working group will be engaging in public consultation over the next few months to gather feedback as it finalises the legal requirements of the merge. This information will be shared on both organisations websites and open to public consultation from the end of March.

Members and the public are encouraged to watch for updates for public consultation forums on the Living Positive Victoria and Straight Arrows’ website and social media accounts.

For more information, including a list of frequently asked questions click here or visit livingpositivevictoria.org.au