Darren russellQueensland’s new HIV/AIDS foundation is promising to remain lean, edgy and cut through to young men at risk of infection from HIV/AIDS.

Dr Darren Russell who has headed the soon to be wound up Ministerial Advisory Committee  says the he is looking forward to the transition of his function to head up the new body which will be named the HIV Foundation Queensland.

“The Foundation will allow us to be flexible, move quickly in getting innovative prevention messages out explaining by breaking away from an advisory role, there will be more autonomy,” he said.

“We will be able to do so some things that are edgier less constrained by government”.

The change is in keeping with the model recommended by the World Health Organisation that such groups are peer led and not an arm of government.

Russell sized up a key target audience. “Younger guys behave differently to older guys hooking up for sex and also how they obtain information is also different and we must tap into those differences.”

Younger guys don’t have the “lived experience of seeing HIV/AIDS take its toll as it did in the 80’s and early 90’s,” Dr Russell added.

Moving from an advisory role also means that the new foundation can play a more enhanced role in AIDS 2014 which is said to be biggest medical conference ever held in Australia when it takes place in Melbourne next July.

“This is a huge opportunity to learn and share experiences,” Dr Russell explained, outlining that over 15,000 delegates are expected to attend.

Queensland’s new HIV/AIDS foundation is promising to remain lean, edgy and cut through to young men at risk of infection from HIV/AIDS.

Dr Darren Russell who has headed the soon to be wound up Ministerial Advisory Committee  says the he is looking forward to the transition of his function to head up the new body which will be named the HIV Foundation Queensland.

“The Foundation will allow us to be flexible, move quickly in getting innovative prevention messages out explaining by breaking away from an advisory role, there will be more autonomy,” he said.

“We will be able to do so some things that are edgier less constrained by government”.

The change is in keeping with the model recommended by the World Health Organisation that such groups are peer led and not an arm of government.

Russell sized up a key target audience. “Younger guys behave differently to older guys hooking up for sex and also how they obtain information is also different and we must tap into those differences.”

Younger guys don’t have the “lived experience of seeing HIV/AIDS take its toll as it did in the 80’s and early 90’s,” Dr Russell added.

Moving from an advisory role also means that the new foundation can play a more enhanced role in AIDS 2014 which is said to be biggest medical conference ever held in Australia when it takes place in Melbourne next July.

“This is a huge opportunity to learn and share experiences,” Dr Russell explained, outlining that over 15,000 delegates are expected to attend.

Dr Russell said he was excited by the involvement of Burmese politician and human rights activist, Aung San Suu Kyi’s, in the launch of the program on World AIDS Day and welcomed the high profile launch of AIDS 2014. “Hopefully Aung San Suu Kyi‘s involvement will help put attention on marginalised groups in Asia Pacific region.”

Dr Russell also had a cheeky enticement for delegates to come to Queensland while in town.

“The warm weather, rainforests, beaches also provide a great setting for a satellite meeting,” he said. “I would personally be happy for it to focus very much on HIV prevention.”

Appearing to heed the lessons of his predecessors, Russell said of the foundation that “our aim is to be stay fairly small and lean.

“[We will] work with other groups and have a role in setting the overall direction of HIV prevention and Care – no intention of large and wieldy,” he said.

“Queensland Positive People is doing a great job in prevention. There are others like the Ethnic Community Council, Respect that takes care of sex workers, and the Queensland Injectors Health Network looking after the injecting drug using community.”

Dr Russell also explained that there will be a new television and media campaign starting Sunday17 November 2013 in preparation for World AIDS Day and the launch of the QHF. More informaiton can be found at endhiv.qld.gov.au.

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