People Living With HIV/AIDS NSW has written to its members this week about a potential name change, floating the moniker Positive Life.
PLWHA president Scott Berry said the old name was simply jargon to the growing number of HIV-positive people who weren’t around during the organisation’s creation.
“I’m talking about a vast group of newly infected gay men, an emerging group of women, straight guys, new immigrants, who don’t see that name as representing something to them,” Berry said.
“They’re saying the suggested name is really life-affirming, it doesn’t define us by disease but an aspiration.”
But he said the name would be hard for many in the community to give up.
“It remains a powerful term for lots of people that we serve, and made clear that people with HIV were people,” Berry said.
“At that time there were calls from parliamentarians like Fred Nile and others to ostracise people with HIV, even discussions of TB-style sanitariums.”
The current name has existed for 15 years, changed from the original People With AIDS.
A community forum will be held on Thursday 27 September, 6pm at the YWCA, cnr Wentworth Avenue and Liverpool Street. Members can contribute to the discussion and get more information from the website www.plwha.org.au.