Positive Life will soon launch a booklet outlining the organisation’s history, as part of the commemorative events being staged for its 20 year anniversary.

Compiled by community historian Garry Wotherspoon, the publication outlines the group’s formation in 1988 and its ongoing progress from community action group to advocacy group.

[Positive Life] does show the power of a community organisation to dramatically improve the situation of people from within that community, Wotherspoon told Sydney Star Observer before outlining some key moments in its history.

The braveness of people to come out and form an organisation like that at a time when HIV had such terrible stigma attached to it, was in itself a major event, as was the discovery of combination therapy – people were no longer dying from HIV/ AIDS they were living with HIV.

They were two key turning points as was the more recent decision to move into health promotion.

Through all of that, I think it’s still very much a grassroots organisation, though its function has changed solidly over time. It no longer has to have massive, public demonstrations, now it’s much more about dealing with politicans and health officials. It’s probably less confrontational now and more a lobby and advocacy group.

Wotherspoon’s comprehensive history of the group will be released at a special brithday function, tentatively booked for August 21 – an event which he hoped would see a strong turnout from the community.

It is important to commemorate this, because people can become complacent, he said.

Particularly now that we have the new combination therapies, people can think we don’t have to worry about it anymore, and that’s simply not true. If we don’t continue to advocate for ourselves who will?

info: For more information on Positive Life visit positivelife.org.au.

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