I am excited to have this opportunity to introduce Femfatales — the National Network of Women Living with HIV, a working group of the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA). The network comprises of a diverse range of women who come together to advocate and collaborate with stakeholders to improve the lives of women living with HIV in Australia. Femfatales also provides NAPWHA with a forum for the discussion of issues specific and/or important to women living with HIV and is an integral component of NAPWHA’s HIV-positive women’s policy and advocacy activity.
Femfatales is currently working in the following areas:
Women living with HIV (WLHIV) remain central to the HIV response:
- Collaborate with and assist women to take on key roles across treatment, prevention and peer support utilising their unique expertise from their lived experience.
- Utilise a combination of digital communication modalities (email. videoconferencing, blogs, texting, Facebook, surveys) to communicate, collaborate and network, creating an increased capacity to share strategies and resources.
- Develop a framework of key contacts to enable fast distribution of relevant women specific information, events and updates.
- Encourage women's leadership role in the Australian prevention response.
- Build the profile of our annual national day for Women Living with HIV on March 9th.
- Advocate for support across HIV jurisdictions and link with key workers working directly with women and their families
- Contribute to a Quality of Life and wellbeing tool/measure
- Advocate for increased awareness and solutions to address gender inequities.
- Maintain close links with Positive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network and relevant future networks or groups.
Effective and innovative collaboration with Government to benefit people with HIV:
- Advocate for peer based best practice and inclusive approaches in all policy and legislation.
- Provide leadership and policy advice that demonstrates meaningful engagement with WLHIV
- Promote the unique perspectives of WLHIV as a vital contribution to policy, health reform and national debate.
- Engage with relevant government departments seeking endorsement, engagement and promotion of the National Day of Women Living with HIV.
- Monitor and ensure that gender equity is applied to collaborations with governments.
- Ensure that governments acknowledge and respect women's rights, empower women to speak out and champion leadership roles.
Effective and innovative collaboration with HIV community partners, researchers and clinicians:
- Build existing processes to further engage women, their voices and experience
- Explore strategies to reach women in all their diversity through new and innovative partnerships
- Advocate that clinical trials are gender inclusive and women are provided with options
- Ensure that women's experiences with treatments are profiled and considered from a human rights and evidence-based perspective by researchers and clinicians
- Advocate for the inclusion of WLHIV in qualitative and quantitative research on issues that particularly affect them as members of the body positive
- Reinforce that all partners can refer to NAPWHA and Femfatales links and sites specific to WLHIV for their health issues and information, and that Femfatales is recognised as a valued source and voice of WLHIV
- Sustain our long term membership of the Australian Women’s Health Network. (AWHN)
This is an invitation for you to join us in mutually beneficial partnership and collaboration. I encourage you to refer women living with HIV in Australia to Femfatales who you believe can actively contribute or otherwise benefit from our network as a source of information, referral and shared lived experience. I encourage you to raise awareness of Femfatales within your community, promote our work and encourage a strong, effective network of women.
Membership of the network is via an Expressions of Interest and limited to 15 places. Femfatales aims for representation from all States and Territories that reflect our cultural and social diversity.
The network can connect with women confidentially in many ways. If you require further information or wish to chat with a member of the Femfatales, please feel free to contact us via the NAPWHA office. Your enquiry will be handled with the upmost respect and confidentiality. Alternatively you may wish to take a look at our webpage.
Katherine Leane — Chair Femfatales