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    Sharilynn Gerchow

    I’m so glad Crikey has covered this issue. QAHC found out yesterday that they have also lost all their funding for LGBT training awareness and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs funding. This demonstrates that the defunding is not in response to higher rates of HIV infection, (for which there are a myriad of reasons seemingly not understood by the Government) but an attack on an organisation which is of vital importance to the LGBT community in Queensland. First, the “blacks”, now “the gays” – welcome back to the 1970s, Queensland….

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  2. 2
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    Clytie

    Firstly, I agree with what Daniel is saying. I’ve run community awareness programs myself, and the whole thing depends on building trust networks among that community, not on disseminating information from on-high.

    Secondly, one cannot be “deeply shortsighted”, since myopia is due to shallow focus. 😉

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  3. 3
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    Pat

    Ye gods. Springborg and the rest of his LNP cronies have utterly no idea of either the issues or support networks QAHC has developed to address them. They will do a copy of the Reagan era response and move HIV back into the public health agenda to be treated rather than prevented.

    Queensland voters might have ditched Labor but settling for the dumb-but-cashed-up bumbling country cousins wasn’t part of the deal. Anything that doesn’t fit the ironclad version of ‘normal’ they cherish will be ‘defunded’, undermined and persecuted.

    Springborg’s experts will have lots of harrumph factor deftly woven into a penchant for pontification. Watch carefully, people.

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  4. 4
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    John64

    So… If I’m understanding this correctly, either straight people don’t get AIDS – or they do, but the QAHC doesn’t care so much about them so the Government is re-designing their approach to be more encompassing?

    Probably likewise for bullying in schools, youth suicide, domestic violence et. al.

    It sounds like the Government is wanting to drop the “only for LGBT” focus and instead create something more encompassing that deals with AIDS and related issues that is relevant for ALL Queenslanders with AIDS, not just those who identify as LGBT.

    Painting it as an “attack on LGBT” and threatening that QLD will “reap the consequences” doesn’t help anybody.

    Also, comparing the prevalence of AIDS within gay men in San Francisco (25%) “The Gay & Lesbian Capital of the World” to the prevalence of AIDS for the /entire state of Queensland/ (8.8%) “Definitely NOT the Gay & Lesbian Capital of Anywhere” seems a bit of a stretch. If anything, it actually proves how much AIDS is predominantly an LGBT issue.

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  5. 5
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    Pat

    John I don’t really get your point. HIV (it isn’t AIDS – there’s a huge difference) affects predominantly gay men specifically because of our preferred sexual practice. If you want me to spell it out in all its detail I will. I might add that HIV transmission in the injecting drug using community has decreased to almost zero because of the needle exchange program.

    As you said in your final paragraph, “it actually proves how much AIDS is predominantly an LGBT issue”.

    To target gay men and to reduce transmission of HIV, QAHC develops and maintains very successful networks and strategies. It responds to emerging issues and knows about these long before they appear on the straight community’s radar.

    The incidence of people with HIV who have contracted it other than by sexual contact is minimal. It is a niche community health issue and needs to be addressed in specific, targeted and effective ways.

    Men at risk of contracting HIV don’t respond to broad pontification and it’s critical QAHC continues its work. This means funding!

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  6. 6
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    Daniel Reeders

    In his announcement and subsequent media interviews, Min Springborg hasn’t said anything at all about positive heterosexuals. ‘Poz hets’ are doing it tough and I would support any call for funding to better meet their support needs, but as Pat points out, in Queensland the vast majority of HIV infections are among gay men.

    John64 is quite right about the difference between QLD and SF. Until the late 1990s the only way to meet another gay man was to go to a gay event or venue, or write a letter via the ‘seeking same’ columns in gay and suburban papers… so it made a *huge* difference if you were living in a city with lots of gay men and gay venues, like SF — lots more sexual opportunities and higher rates of transmission. Then along came Internet dating and more recently smartphone apps that help gay men find each other, and they helped overcome dispersal and distance effects for gay Queensland men.

    Min Springborg claims increased incidence shows the failure of prevention campaigns; in reality it reflects changes in the number of opportunities for transmission due to shifting sexual culture, more positive men living for longer on treatments, and new technologies. Thanks John64 for the question and the opportunity to clarify that point.

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  7. 7
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    Queen Clytie

    What the desicion by Springborg reflects, as does John64’s comment, is a failure to understand how these kinds of programs work.

    It is not to say that sexually transmitted diseases,bullying, domestic violence etc don’t happen in the broader community but rather that the strategies that we use to connect with people and sometimes the solutions that work often vary. People want to connect with organisations they trust understand them and their experience.

    Clearly this organisation comes with a background and specific expertise in working with the LGBT community. There are other organisations that specialised in the same issues for people with disabilities. The myth that generalist approaches work is just that – a myth.

    If Sprinborg is serious about wanting to look at sexual health in the community more broadly, then there is nothing to stop him investing in that.

    I’m interested in why Qld’s branch of the AMA have supported this decision? As an organisation for clinicians, it’s not really surprising but I’d like to know.

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  8. 8
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    Kim Bulwinkel

    There is only so much money in the pot. How does one make the priority decisions?

    Trauma services that work especially for the regional areas and training our next generations of medical practitioners are probably a higher priority for the public dollar. You can’t have it all without a bigger pie except by using someone else’s money [borrowed].

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