Tributes are pouring in for one of the HIV community's most-loved figures and cherished heroes, Tony Maynard, who passed away on Thursday 8 March after complications from a brain infection. Tony was a pre-eminent source of information on HIV treatments support for thousands of people living with HIV in Australia over his 30-plus years connected to the sector.
Tony was the first Treatments Officer at the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC); Treatments Project Officer at the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA); Senior Education Officer at the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine; and Treatments Officer at the AIDS Council of NSW. His last role in the sector was as a board member for VAC.
Even when employed outside the sector as an HIV consultant for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Tony was instrumental in developing closer relationships with industry and community to benefit his main goal: looking after the health and wellbeing of people with HIV. Indeed, while at Janssen, Tony was responsible for bringing three important HIV drugs to the Australian market.
During his career Tony was awarded the HIV Sector Partnership Award in 2001; and the Pat Clear Award from Medicines Australia in 2011 for his contribution to the Collaboration for Health in Papua New Guinea.
"We have lost a great resource and a very wise counsel to many PLHIV,” said NAPWHA President, Cipri Martinez, responding to the news. “But most of all we have lost a wonderful personality and friend who would always greet everyone with a broad smile, his great sense of humour and his warm demeanour."
Aaron Cogle, Executive Director at NAPWHA, also paid tribute to Tony whose last full-time role — as Treataware Project Officer — was at the organisation. "Tony was great to work with and had such tremendous experience in HIV medicine and treatments. We could rely on him to use his many years' experience and accumulated wisdom to guide our policy development and to strengthen our partnerships using his extensive networks,” said Cogle. “Many people in the HIV sector across the country are feeling a great sense of loss at Tony's passing. He was well-loved and admired.”
David Menadue was president of People with AIDS Victoria and on the interview panel which recruited Tony as Treatments Officer at VAC in the early 1990s. "It was the worst of times for anyone to take on the role, looking after the treatment needs of PLHIV when there really were no effective anti-HIV treatments. But Tony took to the role with vigour to learn as much as he could as quickly as possible to try to save lives,” said Menadue. “I have the greatest admiration for the commitment Tony showed to us for so many years and the quality of advice he gave people in such uncertain times. Tony is appreciated and loved by the HIV community around Australia. This is a truly great loss for us."
Thoughts go out to Tony's partner, Christian, and his family at this very sad time. Tony will be remembered as a treasured colleague, a caring mentor, a passionate advocate, a dedicated member of the community, and as a truly remarkable person. RIP Tony. You will be sorely missed.