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Taking the temperature of the Association — Richard Keane

Richard Keane, CEO of Living Positive Victoria shares stories about life and times, resilience and community during COVID-19 with Dr John Rule (NAPWHA Senior Research Manager) during the Stage 4 restriction in Melbourne that commenced on 2 August 2020. The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) is Australia’s peak non-government organisation representing community-based groups of people living with HIV across Australia. In this video series, we share the experiences and responses of communities managing and adapting to the unfolding 2020 pandemic.

This interview was recorded on 18 August 2020

Related links

Read Moments of creativity and connection — Supporting people living with HIV during COVID-19 by Tim Krulic (a health promotion officer at Living Positive Victoria and PhD candidate at ARCSHS).

The Melbourne 2020 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, hosted by Living Positive Victoria and Positive Women Victoria was live streamed and premiered on May 17, 2020.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Dr John Rule reports back from the NAPWHA members to hear about community stories and community-led responses adapting to life during COVID-19.

Taking the Temperature — Episode 01 — Sam and Wilo
Taking the Temperature — Episode 03 — Kirsty Machon
Taking the Temperature — Episode 04 — Anth McCarthy
Taking the Temperature — Episode 05 — Hayden Patterson
Taking the Temperature — Episode 06 — Charlie Tredway

Taking the temperature of the Association — Anth McCarthy

Anth McCarthy of Living Positive Victoria shares stories about life and times, resilience and community during COVID-19 with Dr John Rule (NAPWHA Senior Research Manager) bringing focus to the invaluable role of peer navigation support. The interview was recorded during the Stage 4 restriction in Melbourne that commenced on 2 August 2020.

The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) is Australia’s peak non-government organisation representing community-based groups of people living with HIV across Australia. In this video series, we share the experiences and responses of communities managing and adapting to the unfolding 2020 pandemic.

This interview was recorded on 2 September 2020

Stay Connected to Living Positive Victoria

For PLHIV in Victoria, it’s important now more than ever to know that you have someone to connect with if you need to. Peer Navigators can provide one-on-one support for you on your journey with HIV, helping you achieve your goals and reach full physical and emotional wellbeing. They can also connect you to other programs, help you with referrals to other services and provide information on many aspects of living with HIV.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Dr John Rule reports back from the NAPWHA members to hear about community stories and community-led responses adapting to life during COVID-19.

Taking the Temperature — Episode 01 — Sam and Wilo
Taking the Temperature — Episode 02 — Richard Keane
Taking the Temperature — Episode 03 — Kirsty Machon
Taking the Temperature — Episode 05 — Hayden Patterson
Taking the Temperature — Episode 06 — Charlie Tredway

LPV speaks on #DontWaitMate encouraging people to re-engage with continuity of healthcare

If you need physical or mental healthcare #DontWaitMate

#DontWaitMate is a new national health campaign launched by the Continuity of Care Collaboration – to encourage Australians to re-engage with healthcare, and to not delay vital visits to healthcare providers that are needed to manage chronic conditions or to address new symptoms.

“Across the board, from GP visits, to pathology, to screening, to acute care presentations, we have seen a significant drop-off in Australians taking care of their health,” said Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer.

“And while this is understandable due to COVID-19, it could lead to long-term health consequences for the patient and the community.”

Partnering in the Collaboration, Living Positive Victoria (LPV), addresses some key concerns and challenges faced by the communities of people living with HIV in Victoria with regard to re-engaging with healthcare.

LPV CEO, Richard Keane, who presented as part of this webinar where various Collaboration members shared lessons learnt, imparted a key community message that ‘engaging in care IS self-care’.

He shared how Living Positive Victoria was using novel approaches to address some barriers to healthcare for its members of people living with HIV in Victoria (summarised below).

If you need physical or mental healthcare #DontWaitMate

About the Continuity of Care Collaboration

The Continuity of Care Collaboration are a unique communication collaboration of over 30 Australian peak bodies, industry and healthcare organisations responding to a trend that has continued in 2020 reflecting lowered pathology testing rates across Australia (and currently down by 25 per cent in Victoria).

Continuity of Care Collaboration survey

Moreover, a consumer survey conducted by the Collaboration found that the most common reasons that people were delaying their regular doctor visits for existing chronic conditions – and/or putting off seeing their doctor to get a test, investigation, or immunisation – are due to fears of contracting COVID-19 or burdening the health system.

Richard Keane:  ‘Re-engaging with healthcare’

Living Positive Victoria presents at Continuity of Care Collaboration webinar

In a webinar presentation to the Collaboration, Living Positive Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Keane highlights:

  • “One of the greatest challenges to continuity of care is engaging with marginalised communities who may not have access to facilities required to engage easily with e-health and video calling.”
  • “The re-engagement of our Peer Navigation Program is our top priority [at Living Positive Victoria] as some people have fallen out-of-care. Around 10% of people who are newly diagnosed HIV have yet to commence early treatment uptake.”
  • “We’re trying to extend that sense of agency – based in a long history of regular engagement in healthcare across the lifetime of our experience of living with HIV”.

Living Positive Victoria has been ensuring community connectedness with its members – particularly during the months of restricted lockdowns with regular letters coming directly from the CEO.

  • “Like most community-based organisations, communications and IT have become the wheelhouse of our COVID-19 response and we have shifted resources to this area of our business.”
  • “Sharing information via bi-weekly letters to our members have come with the provision of links to respected sources, rather than trying to duplicate messaging, and potentially overwhelming people with information overload.”

Mr Keane presents some of his organisation’s areas of focus and the novel approaches to addressing barriers to healthcare:

  • “[There have been] agreements with DHHS (Victorian Department of Health and Human Services) to shift some resources into a special fund for one-off $200 payment for travellers stranded in Australia, including international students and visa holders who have fallen outside of the social welfare net.”
  • “[In 2020] women have been disproportionately affected. They will often use their resources for [their own] health on others they care for, so a special emphasis on women maintaining their HIV and broader healthcare has been key.”
  • “[There is also] a reminder of the first pandemic reflecting on the over 7,000 lives that were lost to AIDS in Australia and the psycho-social impacts on older and pre-affective antiretroviral treatment (AART) PLHIV living through a second pandemic in their lifetime.” Mr Keane makes mention of the appointment of an ‘Elder Peer Advocate’ position has recently been filled – allowing for 1-on-1 activities to be directed to this cohort.