People who have worked to fight HIV and support people living with HIV were among those receiving this year’s prestigious Australia Day honours.
Dr Peter Pigott received an Order of Australia for his work as an HIV clinician and researcher.
Infection control worker Sandra Berenger was also honoured with the Order of Australia, having recently retired from a 50-year career in health.
Berenger worked at the Royal Newcastle Hospital from the 1970s to the 1990s, developing infection control practices and writing strategies for dealing with HIV when it first emerged.
“We didn’t even know what we were dealing with,” said Berenger.
“We didn’t have a cure, we had nothing—we only had education. We were learning on the run, literally, and we were dealing with people’s lives but also with the social stigma.”
Berenger’s other roles included World Health Organisation consultant and Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control president.
She contributed to establishing Mackillop House, a respite facility for people living with HIV.
Broken Hill Mayor Darriea Turley received an Order of Australia for her work as an HIV and sexual health worker in the 1990s and 2000s.
With a background in social science and health, Turley was recognised for “significant service to the community of Broken Hill, particularly in the health, social welfare and education sectors, and to women in local government”.
Health worker Mark Stirling received the honour for his work in developing countries.
Stirling was previously the chief of UNICEF’s HIV Unit and has worked in many countries fighting HIV.
Victorian landscape architect Paul Bangay has also been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Bangay created the Fairfield House AIDS Garden, and has served on the boards of the Victorian AIDS Council and Gay Men’s Health Centre.
The Order of Australia honours have recognised outstanding achievements and service since 1975.