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Femfatales make a call to action for #EachforEqual increased awareness and equitable access to HIV testing

Monday 9 March 2020 is the 5th National day of Women living with HIV (#NDWLHIV) in Australia — founded by the National Network of Women Living with HIV known as Femfatales. Our awareness raising network highlights issues relevant to women, and also celebrates the lives of all women living with HIV.

To help raise awareness of HIV, Femfatales invites all organisations and agencies concerned about women’s health to hold a morning or afternoon tea, or similar event, in support of women living with and affected by HIV.

In Australia, one in every ten people living with HIV is a woman. This National Day brings into focus approximately 3,000 women living with HIV.

On this day Femfatales makes a call to action for:

  • Equitable and timely access to HIV testing for all women, regardless of perceived risk
  • Ending the avoidable rates of late HIV diagnosis among women
  • Greater public awareness of HIV testing, treatments, and prevention

Katherine Leane, Femfatale’s Chair, explains further:

“There is a general misconception that sexually active women are not at risk for HIV. Consequently, many women believe they don’t need to be tested.”

“Our healthcare providers often share this mistaken belief. Even when a woman presents multiple times to their doctor with unexplained illnesses, fever or weight loss, the question ‘Could it be HIV?’ is never asked.”

“By the time a woman is diagnosed, she has usually lived with HIV for many years without treatment. This late diagnosis often means she has developed a compromised immune system and sometimes, progressed to an AIDS-defining illness.”

“Assumptions about who is ‘at-risk’ in public health narratives have restricted women’s access to HIV testing on an equal basis to men.”

This National Day of Women Living with HIV shares the theme adopted by International Women’s Day 2020 — “I am Generation Equal, Realising Women’s Rights” or #EachforEqual — which draws from the notion of collective individualism and shared responsibility, where everyone can play a collective role in accelerating gender equality.

In appreciation of this theme, Ms Leane reminds us:

“Collectively, we can make change happen by starting conversations about HIV with our doctors, nurses, dentists and other professionals in health care settings.”

The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) is Australia’s peak non-government organisation representing community-based groups of people with HIV. They provide advocacy, policy, representation, health promotion and outreach at a national level.

NAPWHA Vice President, Ms Sarah Feagan, states:

“As a national women’s network, we know the importance of keeping women on the agenda. This 5th National Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the strength and diversity of the HIV community of women, and to recognise the unique challenges they face. We hope that all women living with or affected by HIV feel strengthened by our visibility.”

“NAPWHA aligns itself with the MIWA (Meaningful Involvement of Women Living with HIV) principles and knows the value and importance of keeping women firmly on the agenda. On this National Day we hope that all women living with or affected by HIV feel strengthened by our visibility and strive for equality and pleasure in their lives.”

Femfatales declares that it is time for all women who are sexually active, to be offered comprehensive and culturally appropriate sexual health screening, including HIV testing.

Celebrate. Advocate. Inspire. Empower.

Media Contact

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with:

Katherine Leane — Femfatales Chair
Sarah Feagan — NAPWHA Vice-President; Femfatales Member

Contact Saysana Sirimanotham – NAPWHA Communications Officer on 0424 898 698 or saysana@napwha.org.au

About Femfatales

Femfatales (the National Network of Women living with HIV) is an advisory group, constituted to provide NAPWHA with an ongoing consultative forum for the discussion of issues for women living with HIV in Australia.

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Events marking the National Day of Women Living with HIV 2020

NAPWHA and the National Network of Women Living with HIV known as Femfatales had the honour of hosting a dinner and one-day forum in Sydney to mark the 5th National day of Women living with HIV (#NDWLHIV). It was a valuable opportunity for women to join together and hear from other leaders in the sector and plot a course forward to better engage with and deliver for all women living with HIV in Australia.

Access some of the presentations from the event:

For this year’s National Day of Women Living with HIV 2020, read more about the Femfatales who made a call to action for #EachforEqual increased awareness and equitable access to HIV testing.

About Femfatales

Femfatales (the National Network of Women living with HIV) is an advisory group, constituted to provide NAPWHA with an ongoing consultative forum for the discussion of issues for women living with HIV in Australia.

‘Taking control of our health’ marks the theme of 2021 National Day of Women Living with HIV

Each year, on March 9, the National Network of Women Living with HIV (Femfatales) 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.

Please join our National Network of Women Living with HIV to mark Tuesday 9 March as the National Day of Women Living with HIV and to embrace our theme: Taking Control of our Health.

Read the message below from Kath Leane, Femfatales and also a listing of events around Australia. All organisations, agencies and groups interested in women’s health are invited to hold a morning tea or similar event to show your support.

Video:  A special HIV is: Just a Part of Me release featuring Jane Costello (CEO of Positive Life NSW), Natasha Io (Board Member of Positive Life NSW), and Michelle Tobin (Aboriginal woman of the Yorta Yorta Nation who is also a descendant of the Stolen Generation).

Message from Femfatales Chair, Kath Leane

Dear Colleague,

Each year, on March 9, the National Network of Women Living with HIV (Femfatales) 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.

This year’s National Day of Women Living with HIV (#NDWLHIV) theme is: Taking control of our health because it is important for women living with HIV to focus on their sexual and reproductive health.

We also want to remind all women to prioritise their own healthcare and seek an HIV test as part of their routine health check. Women often forego their own needs to meet the demands of others they care for. Creating the time and a reminder to prioritise their health needs can only have a positive outcome.

Worldwide, there are 38 million people living with HIV and 21 million of these are women. The percentage is much smaller in Australia, with women making up only 10% of the estimated 37,000 people living with HIV in this country. With smaller numbers, women are often not seen as a priority. So, apart from feeling like an invisible minority, women’s voices are often underrepresented.

Femfatales invites all organisations, agencies and groups interested in women’s health to hold a morning tea or similar event to show your support.

We invite our Australian HIV State and Territory jurisdictions to commit to holding an event that will create an opportunity where women can “Celebrate, Advocate, Inspire and Empower”.

Please join our National Network of Women Living with HIV to mark Tuesday 9 March as the National Day of Women Living with HIV and to embrace our theme: Taking Control of our Health.

Katherine Leane
Chair, National Network of Women Living with HIV

Illustration by Carolina Relander. Further illustrations have been commissioned for a forthcoming 2021 relaunch of the Living Well: Women with HIV website by NAPWHA and AFAO.

A media release of ‘Taking Control of Our Health’ marks the 6th National Day of Women Living with HIV was also published on 5 March 2021

Women’s Brunch Event in Perth — Sun 7 March

Diane Lloyd

For women living with HIV in Perth, join a brunch hosted by Diane Lloyd, HIV Advocate for NAPWHA’s Health Literacy Framework project; and Positive Organisation WA board member.

The brunch will be held on Sunday  7 March 2021 at Stickybeaks Playground Café located in: Kings Park and Botanic Garden.

Register your interest by contacting Diane via email at info@napwha.org.au

Women’s Morning Tea Event in Adelaide — Tues 9 March

National Day of Women Living with HIV Adelaide Morning Tea

Women’s Afternoon High Tea Event in Sydney — Tues 9 March

Go to the Positive Life NSW webpagePositive Life NSW invite you to an afternoon high tea for National Day of Women Living with HIV on 9 March 2021

Positive Life NSW and Femfatales invites you and a guest to attend an Afternoon High Tea on Tuesday 9 March 2021, the National Day of Women living with HIV, in celebration of the lives of women living with HIV (WLHIV).

This year’s theme for the sixth annual National Day of Women living with HIV is ‘Taking Control of Our Health.’

Join us to hear Associate Professor Kathy Petoumenos from the Kirby Institute present on the CLIO WLHIV Cohort study and the importance of WLHV participating in research to gain a greater understanding of how HIV affects our bodies.

We invite you to relax with friends and supporters in a mixed social environment over a classic range of sweet and savoury treats, coffee and a range of tea selections.

Places limited to 50 guests – please RSVP early!

Women’s Dinner Event in Darwin — Sat 27 March

NTAHC logo

For women living with HIV in Darwin, join a dinner hosted in conjunction with Rebekah Lamb (Women’s Coordinator) of NTAHC. This event is part of the Health Literacy Framework project; and held in conjunction with NTAHC.

The dinner will be held on the evening of Saturday 27 March 2021, subject to number of expressions of interest.

Register your interest by contacting Rebekah Lamb via email at rebekah.lamb@ntahc.org.au

HIV s100 Prescriber Update – Women
Living with HIV Webinar Series

For HIV s100 Prescribers and medical practitioners interested in HIV care:

In honor of the National Day of Women Living with HIV, ASHM (the national accreditation body for HIV prescribers in primary health settings) has partnered with Positive Life NSW to deliver a two-part webinar series. Each session will include presentations from those with lived experience as well as experts in the field.

Part 1 on 9 March 2021 will be presented by Dr Louis Tomlins, General Practitioner and Sexual Health Physician at Taylor Square Private Clinic and Staff Specialist at Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre. Her presentation will focus on HPV related cancers and cervical screening guidelines.

Click here to download the flyer

Part 2 on 16 March 2021 of this series will be presented by Professor Deborah Bateson, Medical Director at Family Planning NSW, who will lead a discussion on contraception and menopause. The session will also include a presentation by Dr Virginia Furner, Senior HIV Consultant at The Albion Centre, who will be discussing ASHM’s guidance on women living with HIV who are considering breastfeeding.

Click here to download the flyer

Watch: U=U is Your Story Too (Webinar for Women)

In November 2020, Positive Women Victoria presented a groundbreaking forum and Australian-first, U=U is Your Story Too.

A panel discussion focused on the Undetectable = Untransmittable message as it relates specifically to women.

Watch: U=U is Your Story Too, via the Positive Women Victoria website

‘Living well’ marks the theme of 2022 National Day of Women Living with HIV

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.

This initiative by our National Network of Women Living with HIV heard from many positive women whose voices are being featured in 20 social media images.

“We asked what does living well mean to you? This is a theme which focuses on the importance of joy, health, wellbeing and connection in our lives,” says Kath Leane from the National Network.

“What does living well look like and feel like in your everyday life? What are some of the challenges to living well for women living with HIV? What changes would you like to see? What are your hopes for yourself and for other women?”

“When women living with HIV, in all their beautiful diversity, share their voices and tell their stories, we support each other; we end our own internalised stigma; and we raise awareness within the wider community,” says Heather Ellis also from the National Network. Heather is also the host of the ‘Our Stories: Ending HIV stigma‘ podcast series, published by Positive Women Victoria.

“The stories of all women living with HIV are so very powerful in fighting ignorance and ultimately ending HIV-related stigma once and for all.”

The short but powerful quotes in this campaign reflect the diversity, resilience, challenges and strengths of women’s lives. On this National Day, we continue making time to celebrate the lives, stories and resilience of positive women. by hosting events and raising the awareness and profile of women living with HIV in Australia.

See below a listing of events around Australia hosted by various  organisations, agencies and groups

See also previous National Day events:

‘Taking control of our health’ marks the theme of 2021 National Day of Women Living with HIV (March 2021)

Femfatales make a call to action for #EachforEqual increased awareness and equitable access to HIV testing (March 2020)

National Day of Women Living with HIV — Awareness. Celebrate. Advocate. Inspire. Empower. (March 2019)

Also visit the major makeover of the ‘Living Well: Women with HIV’ website

This year’s National Day of Women Living with HIV theme and socal media campaign initiative ties in with the Living Well: Women with HIV website.  This website having undergone a major makeover, offers wide ranging information about living with HIV, disclosing HIV status, having sex, taking treatment, caring for your body, having children, keeping well, and getting support. It was first published by AFAO and NAPWHA in 2016.

This new-look website Living Well: Women with HIV, reflects some of the ways the world of positive women has changed during the last few years, including the release of the The Breastfeeding for women living with HIV in Australia community resource which was launched in September 2021. The new design has been to enhance online access.

Women’s Morning Tea Event in Adelaide — Wed 9 March

Join SAMESH and The David Roche Foundation for a guided tour of Silhouettes: Fashion in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS, followed by a morning tea on the manicured grounds of The David Roche Museum.

Kath Leane from Positive Life SA (PLSA) and the National Network of Women living with HIV (NAPWHA) will also speak about the importance of the day and give us some history of women living with HIV in Australia.

When:  Wed, March 9, 2022 — 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM ACDT
Where:  The David Roche Foundation, 241 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, SA 5006

Women’s Morning Tea Event in Brisbane — Wed 9 March

To commemorate this years 7th National Day of Women Living With HIV, QPP is hosting a Morning Tea at New Farm Park Rotunda, 10:30am, Wednesday, 9 March 2022.

Join us to celebrate Living Well this National Day of Women Living with HIV, enjoy a relaxed morning tea, share your experiences and even discuss the national social media campaign published and launched by NAPWHA on the day.

To RSVP for the event, please email info@qpp.org.au or phone 07 3013 5555. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements too.

Women’s Breakfast Event in Perth — Wed 9 March

WAAC are hosting a Breakfast meeting for the SHEWomen Group to commemorate the National Women HIV Day at Biara Café (previous known as Stickybeaks Playground Café) located in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. on the Wednesday 9 March 2022 at 10–12 noon.

There is also the first Open Community Consultation for people living with HIV is on Tuesday 8 March. Finger food and soft drinks from 5:30pm–6:00pm.  The Consultation/Forum will be from 6:00–7:30pm.

Register your interest by contacting Melphina Moyo
WAAC HIV Peer Educator (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday)
Phone: 08 9482 0000  |  Mobile: 0436 431 435

Women’s Morning Tea Event in Sydney — Wed 9 March

Positive Life NSW invites women living with HIV and a guest to celebrate the lives of all women living with HIV over an Afternoon High Tea, at the Seventh National Day of Women living with HIV.

Join us as we relax with friends and supporters in a mixed social environment over a classic range of sweet and savoury treats, coffee and a range of tea selections, hear from a range of presenters speaking to our theme Living Well: Beyond Stigma and enjoy some light entertainment.

RSVP essential for catering purposes. Please advise dietary restrictions (gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan) on RSVP. Places limited to 50 guests.

Time: 2pm – 4pm
Place:  Sheraton Grand Sydney, Hyde Park, 161 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW
Register: (02) 9206-2177 or 1800 245 677 (freecall) by 5pm Wednesday 2 March or contact@positivelife.org.au

Listen to ‘Our Stories: Ending HIV Stigma‘ — a podcast series by Positive Women Victoria

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. We share our stories of achieving our 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. Original podcast music by Mark Daniel. Podcast artwork by Carolina Relander.

Join the NAPWHA social media campaign:  Living Well — What it means to you

Each year, on March 9, 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.

Our theme this year is ‘Living Well’, and focuses on the importance of joy, health, wellbeing, and connection in our lives.  If you are a woman living with HIV, we want to hear from you.

We want to hear what living well means to you. What does it look like? Feel like? What are your hopes for yourself and for other women? What work still needs to be done?

The goal of this campaign from the National Network of Women Living With HIV & NAPWHA is to celebrate our strengths and hopes, as well as highlighting the work that still needs to be done to make sure all women living with HIV have the support to truly live well.

We hope to share the words from women like you in a social media campaign to raise the profile of our unique perspectives and stories across the country. Of course, you can be anonymous if you like.

Get involved by responding to the short questions below with as much or as little detail as you like. Make sure you send us your words by Friday, 4th March.  We hope your voice will be part of it!

Our national social media campaign will be published and launched on NAPWHA’s social media channels and on the Positive Living website on the National Day on the 9th March.