Highlighting diversity to strengthen communities: Developing Living Positive Victoria’s 2015-2017 Community Engagement Strategy

Stream: Rapid Papers 2
Date: Friday, 1 April 2016
Time: 11.15 am – 1.00 pm


Communities Deliver, a recent report by UNAIDS and Stop AIDS Alliance 2015, states that “while the core functions of the [community-based HIV] response remain essential, community systems are being challenged to adapt to changing service models and demands from funders.” (2015, p. 4). Living Positive Victoria (LPV), a community-based organisation (CBO) echoes this sentiment and has developed a 2-year Community Engagement Strategy that reflected the diversity of people living with HIV in Victoria; that detailed how LPV was currently succeeding at engaging Victorians living with HIV; and that provided recommendations to improve the organisation’s relationship with the communities it seeks to represent.

Utilising a snowball sampling methodology, fifty participants (representing people living with HIV, members, volunteers, staff, and partner organisations) participated in individual and small group semi-structured interviews.

The report identified seven themes, six areas of strength, five areas of improvement, and four recommendations for Living Positive Victoria to better engage diverse communities. Many of the themes emanating from the interviews point to the systemic challenges faced by PLHIV who are not considered part of the ‘majority of PLHIV’ and the imperative to invest in processes of critical self-reflection in order to ensure continuous quality improvement. The findings from this report have important implications for NGOs as they face the challenging reality of adapting to the changing landscape of HIV and other STIBBVs.


Brent Allan (Presenter), Living Positive Victoria
Brent Allan is the Chief Executive Officer of Living Positive Victoria, member of the Victorian Ministerial Taskforce on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex populations, appointee to the Commonwealth Ministerial Advisory Committee on Blood Borne Viruses and civil society representative to the International AIDS Society's Industry Liaison Forum. He has been working in the community response to HIV/AIDS for over 25 years both in Australia and internationally, one of the founders of the Positive Leadership Development Institute Australia-, architect behind the ENUF campaign, the Disclosure Project and an upcoming campaign to promote TasP and PrEP called Double Happiness.

Suzy Malhotra, Living Positive Victoria

Andrew Eaton, University of Toronto
Andrew Eaton is a social worker and researcher with a focus on the health and well-being of people living with HIV. He has worked for community-based HIV organisations in Canada, Swaziland, and Australia.