HIV Health Promotion Resources
What is health promotion?
Health promotion resources and activities are designed to help people to take steps that will improve their health and overall well-being. HIV health promotion resources focus on improving understanding of how HIV is transmitted and on safe sex and safe injecting, encouraging people to test for HIV, and assisting people with HIV to achieve and maintain good health. They also address stigma and shame associated with HIV.
Health Promotion workers in community organisations take part in planning and developing health promotion resources and activities. Health promotion activities can include community education, social media, community development and community engagement processes.
Health promotion campaigns for HIV are most effective when they are targeted to particular communities. There are myths in our community about HIV, and taboos about discussing sex and sexuality. HIV education and health promotion for our community needs to be culturally sensitive – developed with community input and delivered by community organisations.
There is now a focus on mainstream HIV health promotion on “combination prevention” and new “prevention tools”. HIV rates in our community are rising – our community needs to get up to speed on developments in modern HIV treatment medications and on “combination prevention” so we can get our HIV rates down.
Two editions of the magazine HIV Australia feature innovative HIV health promotion and education campaigns produced by and for our community since the 1980’s: Respect and resilience, and Fire in the belly.
Links to useful Resources – HIV prevention
Here are some HIV prevention resources and campaigns that have been developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with community input.
‘Better to Know’
‘Better to Know’ is a website for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women. It provides detailed information on STIs, HIV, testing and treatment – in two sections, Men’s Business and Women’s Business. Site users can receive SMS or email reminders to have a sexual health check. The site is also a practical tool for health workers and counsellors in Aboriginal health services, sexual health centres and general practice to assist patients in partner notification. Users can use the site to notify recent sexual partners that they may have been at risk of having an STI and encourage them to have a sexual health check. The notification can be made anonymously.
‘Us Mob and HIV’
Us Mob and HIV is a booklet designed to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s understanding of HIV. The booklet provides introductory information about HIV, transmission and prevention, HIV testing, HIV treatments, health monitoring and care and support needs, as well as contact details for services. Download the booklet or contact your local AIDS Council for hard copies of the booklet.
ANTHYM – Aboriginal Nations Torres Strait Islander HIV Youth Mob
ANTHYM seeks to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to reduce HIV and sexually transmitted infections within our communities through the promotion of safe sex and safe injecting practices. See more about ANTHYM on Facebook
The 2 Spirits program was established in 1996 as the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV/AIDS Project. The project was renamed 2 Spirits in 2009 – ‘2 Spirits’ referring to a person possessing both masculine and feminine spirits. The 2 Spirits logo above was developed by artist Arone Meeks. It features male and female images, along with the symbol of infinity and the colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. Covering the entire state of Queensland, the program promotes the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men and sistergirl communities through sexual health promotion, campaigns, community outreach, education workshops, support and referrals. See the 2 Spirits Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/2SpiritsQUAC/
The Condoman campaign was developed in the late eighties in recognition of the fact that the Grim Reaper HIV awareness campaign was doing nothing to promote sexual health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 1987, Aunty Gracelyn Smallwood and other Aboriginal Sexual Health Workers in Townsville developed the Condoman campaign – sexual health resource which was culturally-based. Condoman is now an iconic figure and his message “Don’t Be Shame Be Game” has reached generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Condoman was relaunched in 2009 by the QuAC / 2 Spirits Project, with the support of Queensland Health and the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC). The image of Condoman was rebranded and updated and he is now works with his sidekick Lubelicious.
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) deliver education and health promotion campaigns as part of their preventative health programs, including on STI, HIV and hepatitis prevention.
For information about health promotion programs and resources produced by Aboriginal controlled health services, contact your state/territory Aboriginal health service peak.
NACCHO (the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation), is the national peak for the more than 150 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations across Australia. Read more about NACCHO’s role and work.