Walking to raise awareness
Anton Enus will be lending his considerable appeal to the Walk for AIDS event this Sunday – an issue close to his heart.
With celebrities and public figures increasingly drawn to more family-friendly health causes, AIDS – the original ribbon – hasn’t enjoyed the popular support it once had.
“I don’t think it’s ever not been an issue, certainly not for me. It’s something close to my heart, something I’ve always endeavoured to support whenever I could, dating back to my time in South Africa,” Enus said.
“Several friends died. It was astonishing how quickly the disease ravaged the community.
“It was a really sobering and distressing thing to witness, people who appeared to be healthy at one point, on the party circuit, and suddenly getting ill.”
Things are different now, but those impressions have remained for Enus.
“It’s so important to get that message across to younger gay men that it’s a terrible thing to have to deal with, and the best way to deal with it is to not get infected.”
Even though he and most others in the community aren’t able to contribute to policy direction on HIV, Enus said we can still support such work though symbolic acts like the Walk for AIDS.
“I’m not involved in advocacy, but because it seems I have a bit of a profile it seems like the least I can do to raise awareness of the work that other people are doing,” Enus said.
“There are so many ribbons and causes and so many things to distract us. If you can get a recognisable face in the newspaper and somebody reads the article, if that’s all you get, then I think it’s worth it – just to get people’s attention.
“If people come to the walk this year, maybe next year they’ll feel like doing something more.”
Registration for the annual Walk for AIDS on Sunday 25 November is $20, shared between BGF, ACON and PLWHA. It will take place in the Royal Botanic Gardens from 11am. Details: www.walkforaids.org.au.