THE ground-breaking work of HIV researcher Scientia Professor David Cooper AO and global research organisation The Kirby Institute will be recognised with a special accolade at the 2017 Honour Awards.

Now in its 11th year, the Honour Awards is an annual event that celebrates outstanding service to, and achievements within, NSW’s LGBTI community.

Finalists across eight categories covering the arts, media, health, visual art, business, youth and community sectors will be recognised. Professor Cooper and The Kirby Institute will be honoured with the prestigious ACON President’s Award.

Established in 1986 in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, The Kirby Institute’s research has played an instrumental role in how NSW—and Australia—became renowned for world’s best HIV/AIDS policy and health practice. Later it broadened its work to include a broad range of diseases, including viral hepatitis and STIs.

Since its establishment, The Kirby Institute has been led by Professor Cooper. He is also a consultant physician to the HIV/immunology infectious diseases clinical services unit at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, and is internationally renowned as a leading HIV clinician and clinical investigator.

ACON President Dr Justin Koonin said Professor Cooper and The Kirby Institute are worthy recipients of the special community service award.

“Their contribution to our community has been literally life-changing and it’s particularly timely to acknowledge their collective achievements given the record low rates of new HIV infections we’re experiencing in NSW, and declines we expect to see in other states,” Dr Koonin said.

“The important health outcomes they have helped achieve are testament to their devotion and passion in improving the lives of LGBTI people and their families. They set the gold standard as to how the global community should implement and conduct research and ACON is proud to be acknowledging their enormous contributions to our communities.”

Professor Cooper acknowledged the close working relationship The Kirby Institute has had with ACON, resulting in fundamental positive shifts in health outcomes for everyone within the LGBTI community.

“I am very thankful to Dr Justin Koonin and all at ACON for this generous recognition of the work of the Kirby Institute over the past 30 years,” he said.

“Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in Australia, ACON and The Kirby Institute have worked in close partnership in the fight against HIV, through extremely dark periods for the LGBTI community.

“It is truly remarkable that now, just over 30 years since HIV first devastated the community, our two organisations are working together to legitimately end HIV transmission in NSW by 2020. This work has brought me very close to many dear friends at ACON, as well as the communities they work closely with, and it means a great deal to me personally to have received this recognition.”

The ACON President’s Award is bestowed to an individual, group or organisation whose community service has made a significant impact to the lives of people in LGBTI communities in NSW. Previous recipients include the HIV pioneers Bill Bowtell, Bill Whittaker and Levinia Crooks, the NSW Parliamentary LGBTI Cross Party Working Group, and the staff and patients of St Vincent’s Hospital’s Ward 17 South.

The Honour Awards ceremony and cocktail party will be held next Wednesday September 27 from 6:30 pm at the Ivy Ballroom, 330 George St, Sydney. Tickets are available online.

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