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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.