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National Network of Women living with HIV

The National Network of Women Living with HIV is an advisory group by and for women living with HIV, constituted to provide collaboration between those involved in policy and advocacy work for women living with HIV in Australia. We advocate, inform policy, collaborate and contribute to research and respond to the issues and challenges facing all women living with HIV in Australia.

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Who we are

The National Network of Women Living with HIV is an advisory group by and for women living with HIV, constituted to provide collaboration between those involved in policy and advocacy work for women living with HIV in Australia. We advocate, inform policy, collaborate and contribute to research and respond to the issues and challenges facing all women living with HIV in Australia.

Annual National Day of Women living with HIV on 9 March

Each year, on March 9th, the National Network of Women Living with HIV celebrate the lives of women with HIV in Australia. We use this day to educate the wider community that HIV does affect women in Australia; and to speak to our network about issues of importance.

In the lead up to our 7th National Day of Women Living with HIV on March 9th, 2022 we’re releasing a social media campaign. We asked positive women around the country to share their voices to help us celebrate the theme of this year’s National Day event #WomenLivingWell. The campaign aims to raise the profile of our unique perspectives and stories across the country.

How our meetings are conducted

The group connects primarily by teleconference, with capacity for an annual face-to-face meeting. An email loop is used to facilitate discussion and consultation between meeting times, circulate information for discussion, and assist in NAPWHA’s consultation process as matters arise.

Teleconference costs are covered by NAPWHA, and airfares and travel costs will be covered by NAPWHA for face-to-face meetings. Child care arrangements will be facilitated by NAPWHA as required to support women to attend face-to-face meetings.

Resources for women around HIV

Living Well: Women with HIV

This website was published in 2016 by NAPWHA and AFAO and had the input of many positive women but particularly the National Network of Women and Positive Women Victoria. The website was relaunched with a new design in 2022.

Breastfeeding and Women living with HIV in Australia

If you are living with HIV and you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you may be thinking about breastfeeding your baby, and whether it is safe or advisable. The information in this NAPWHA community resource is provided for women who are living with HIV and want to understand the issues around breastfeeding or formula feeding. It  is also to be used in conjunction with the clinical guidance resource produced by ASHM (Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine) —The Optimal Scenario & Context of Care: ASHM Guidance for Healthcare Providers regarding Infant Feeding Options for People Living with HIV with highlights from Breastfeeding and Women Living with HIV in Australia (2021).

HIV FUTURES 8 – Women Living with HIV in Australia

HIV Futures 8 is a survey about the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV in Australia published by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University.

Antiretroviral Guidelines – Women and HIV Treatment

Access the ASHM Antiretroviral Guidelines website published by the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM)

Understanding U=U for Women Living with HIV

The science behind the U=U message provides the evidence that we can reduce the anxiety related to the sexual transmission of the HIV virus with confidence. This community brief was written by a team of women living with HIV and was guided by a global community advisory committee under ICASO, also made up by women living with HIV. Together ICASO collected stories from over 65 women living with HIV from around the world and held two community consultations in Amsterdam in July 2018. This brief concludes with four actions that as women living with HIV believe need urgent attention. We acknowledge and appreciate that U=U is providing a platform for women* to have a voice that respond.

External links and references

Life and Love with HIV

Life and Love with HIV is a blog and online community dedicated to de-stigmatising sexuality and relationships among women, partners, and couples living with HIV by shifting the focus from risk to pleasure. Life and Love with HIV is for women, partners, and couples living with HIV, and those who love and support them. Whether you’re having sex or not, single or in a relationship, wanting to learn more about sexuality, or just plain curious… our goal is to make this site a pleasurable space for everyone, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, culture, country, and so forth.

Good Quality of Life

Access NAPWHA’s Good Quality of Life website where people with HIV share some great moments as well as the things they do to maintain a good quality of life including being on the right HIV treatment.

Podcast series – Our Stories: Ending HIV Stigma

Listen to Our Stories: Ending HIV Stigma, a podcast about women, by women living with HIV in Australia to challenge the myths and stereotypes that feed HIV stigma. It is produced and published by Positive Women Victoria (PWV)in 2021. In the podcasts, women share stories of achieving personal and career goals, navigating sex and relationships, and our journey through pregnancy and motherhood in this new era of Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U).

Our Stories are real, unfiltered and always inspiring. Hosted by Heather Ellis, a journalist and author, who has lived with HIV since 1995. The podcasts are free to listen to via Spotify, Apple, Google or wherever you download your podcasts.

Media and news links

  • The female condom offers benefits the male version doesn’t — so why don’t we use them? by Edwina Storie and Kellie Scott published on 1 April 2019 via ABC Life
  • Maternal antiretroviral therapy may eliminate HIV transmission from mother to infant via breast milk by Ritwik Roy on 20 July 2016 via International Business Times
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