Join us for CHINWAG: Positive Connection

Join us for CHINWAG: Positive Connection

***  CHINWAG has now concluded  ***

This is a safe, inclusive and dynamic virtual space where every Friday, for one hour, the ever fabulous Vanessa Wagner will be hosting a Zoom video conference event called CHINWAG: Positive Connection with a team of HIV Peer supporters.

  • 5:00-6:00 pm (Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney)
  • 4:30-5:30 pm (Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin)
  • 3:00-4:00 pm (Perth)

CHINWAG: Positive Connection aims to create a fun space for people living with HIV to have a yarn, unwind and come together.


Over 12 weeks the series of events has been wildly popular exceeding all our hopes for the project and we are immensely grateful to you for spending your Friday evenings with us and creating such a warm, open and supportive space.

Chinwag would not have been possible without our incomparable host, along with an amazing stable of special guests, each of whom brought their expertise, passion, and generosity to the event, giving their time to help our community through COVID-19:

  • Friday 22 May: Inaugural meeting with Vanessa Wagner
  • Friday 29 May: Christopher Brett-Renes (Psychosexual therapist, health educator and sexual health/HIV researcher)
  • Friday 5 June: Joel Murray (ACON Senior Manager of the community health programs team, which includes the alcohol and other drugs program and needle syringe program)
  • Friday 12 June: Brent Clifton (Project Coordinator of RISE study at Kirby Institute UNSW)
  • Friday 19 June: Associate Professor Edwina Wright (Infectious diseases physician & clinical researcher at The Alfred and Burnet Institute)
  • Friday 26 June: Nic Holas (HIV activist; campaigns director for Australia; co-founder of The Institute of Many)
  • Friday 3 July: Vikas Parwani (Solicitor of The HIV/AIDS Legal Centre – HALC)
  • Friday 10 July: Michelle Tobin (Community Advocate for the well-being and human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW)
  • Friday 17 July: Greg Owen (London-based HIV advocate and co-founder of I Want Prep Now in the UK; PrEP Lead for Terrence Higgins Trust)
  • Friday 24 July: Jules Kim (CEO of Scarlet Alliance)
  • In July-August, Chinwag will break for 4 weeks
  • Friday 28 August: Professor Sharon Lewin (Inaugural Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity)
  • Friday 11 September: Bruce Richman (Founding Executive Director of Prevention Access Campaign)

For any questions regarding this event, contact Charlie Tredway (Project Officer; Community Engagement) via email on


We had incredible team of HIV peer supporters from across Australia join us each week to provide valuable lived experience, one-on-one support and linkage to care:

  • Sarah from Living Positive Victoria
  • Glenn from Queensland Positive People
  • Ruan from Bobby Goldsmith Foundation
  • Neil from Positive Life NSW

We also would like to thank ViiV Healthcare for their support to help bring this initiative to life. It has been an honour getting to spend this time with every single person who attended.

Professor Sharon Lewin and Bruce Richman join Chinwag: Positive Connection

This is an initiative which is responding to a NAPWHA survey in April 2020 where we looked at the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV. From the 150 participants, the key things that stood out were the challenges of isolation and the need for meaningful interaction. 65% of participants selected Social Connection and 41% of participants chose Mental Health support as two of their most pressing needs right now.

This activity was made possible with the support of ViiV Healthcare Australia

Accessing HIV treatments during COVID-19

Note: This circulation further updates a communication from 3 April 2020 — Managing community concerns about ARV supply: The importance of consistent HIV health sector messaging

Australia still has ample supplies of all HIV medications

The pharmaceutical companies who provide antiretroviral medications in Australia would like to reassure people living with HIV (PLHIV) that there are still healthy supplies of HIV treatments in the country. What’s more, they do not anticipate any disruption to supply in the near future.

PLHIV are encouraged to keep ordering their medications as usual and to keep taking them as prescribed. People with HIV should not skip doses or share medication with friends who are worried about their own supply.

Gilead is providing free postage of medications

In order to avoid going out, PLHIV can now have their HIV treatments posted to them at home by asking their doctor to forward scripts directly to the pharmacy (by email or fax).

Most pharmacies are dispensing the full script (4 or 6 months worth) but only providing 2 months supply at first, and then posting the next lot out at the appropriate time. A few pharmacies are only dispensing one month’s supply at first, but also providing the rest by post.

PLHIV are encouraged to request this postal service if it isn’t offered.

Any pharmacist can access free prepaid post bags by contacting Gilead Sciences in their Melbourne offices on (03) 9272 4400.

ViiV and Gilead expand Compassionate Access for PLHIV stuck in Australia

There are many PLHIV who are residents in Australia but are not eligible for a Medicare card and so are unable to access subsidised HIV treatments through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Some of these PLHIV are on Temporary Visas and return to their home countries regularly to fill their HIV prescriptions. But this is impossible at the moment. Which is why Australian pharmaceutical companies have expanded their Compassionate Access Schemes to allow people who are stuck in the country to get access to HIV treatments.

PLHIV in this situation are encouraged to talk to any GP who specialises in HIV (an HIV s100 prescriber) or any doctor at a Sexual Health Clinic. The doctor will contact the relevant pharmaceutical company who supplies the particular treatment and, if approved, will provide them with two months supply free of charge.

Take a brief survey about how COVID-19 has impacted you to help us better provide support services to people living with HIV

NAPWHA is undertaking a brief survey of People Living with HIV in Australia so that we are better able to provide support and services in the response to COVID-19.

We thank you for taking a couple of minutes to complete this survey. If you are unable to click the link, please copy and paste the full URL below into your browser:

This survey will close on 8 April 2020. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

COVID-19 health promotion resources recommended by PATSIN

The NAPWHA-auspiced Positive Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Network (PATSIN) is a national membership-based group for indigenous people living with HIV.

On 30 March 2020, the PATSIN network met virtually to strategise about COVID-19 and it’s impact, and how best to deliver for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities. They have recommended the below COVID-19 resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which have been featured on this webpage and compiled from various organisations.

NACCHO Resources

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have updated their website with Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates and information:

When talking about COVID-19 for Aboriginal communities on social media we encourage you to use the following hashtags:

  • #OurjobProtectOurMob
  • #AboriginalHealthinAboriginalHands
  • #StoptheSpread
  • #KeepOurMobSafe

The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) resources

The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) assists the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) across NSW to ensure they have access to an adequately resourced and skilled workforce to provide high-quality health care services for Aboriginal communities:

Strong Spirit Strong Mind resources

The words Strong Spirit Strong Mind evolved in consultation with Aboriginal people from across Western Australia. These words embrace the importance of strengthening our ‘inner spirit’ and were inspired by the Aboriginal Inner Spirit (Ngarlu) Model by the late Joseph ‘Nipper’ Roe of the Yawaru and Karajarri people in North Western Australia. Visit their Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Alert webpage for informational resources.