Geoff Honnor has worked with NAPWA and AFAO and was a director of ACON, but says his latest position as executive officer of PLWHA (NSW) presents new challenges.
PLWHA (NSW) is an organisation that like a lot of others in the HIV sector is facing challenges relating to changing times and different issues and moving on, Honnor told Sydney Star Observer. It’s just been through a fairly major strategic planning focus, which I think was an important thing to do in terms of trying to reposition themselves in the light of those changes.
Honnor said he considers himself an advocate rather than an activist, and said a sense of passion was vital for working in the HIV sector.
People work effectively in the sector when they are engaged with it heart and mind. If that’s a form of activism, then so be it, he said. I think knowledge of the issues is really important. I think understanding the climate that we live in is really important. I think the ability to be collaborative and partnership-based is also really important. But passion is pretty much fundamental to it.
Honnor acknowledged that his serostatus is missing from the list.
Look, to me, it isn’t essential, Honnor said. Let me say something a little bit controversial. I think the only insight that serostatus gives you, is insight into your own situation, and that often is a bit dubious, as most positive people know.
I think it’s very important to ally the obvious interest that being HIV-positive gives you, with an understanding of the issues that confront us. I think those two things together are essential, serostatus alone isn’t enough.
I think we’ve moved to a time also when people don’t define themselves by disease centrality, he said. Most positive people these days see themselves first and foremost as people: gay, straight, living in the community, who just happen to have HIV.