Does a partnership investment in PLHIV leadership enhance meaningful engagement with PLHIV in the HIV sector?

Stream: Communities and Leadership
Date: Friday, 1 April 2016
Time: 2.00 pm – 3.45 pm


Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI) is a multi-organisational partnership to build resilience, mental health and leadership capacities of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia and New Zealand. The PLDI peer-led 3-day workshop aims to enhance emotional intelligence, psychological resilience, and leadership skills, and since 2013 has over 100 graduates. PLDI was borne as a practical response to HIV stigma and is based upon the principles of the greater involvement, meaningful engagement, and central role of PLHIV in the response to HIV.

However, beyond benefits for participants, does investment in PLHIV peer leadership translate to benefits for the HIV community, policy and research sector? We looked for where PLDI to date has enhanced meaningful involvement PLHIV in the HIV response. Drawing on a framework for community and policy sector influence of peer-based programs developed by the What Works and Why (W3) Project, a survey of the 25 PLDI partner organisations across the HIV sector was conducted in July 2015 and February 2016. The results provided an insight into where the investment in PLDI has encouraged sector engagement with new peer leadership and peer insights, as well as identified opportunities yet to be realised and challenges to overcome.

Supporting a new and emerging generation of PLHIV leaders is necessary and vital to continuing the partnership approach to HIV in Australia and beyond. A collaboration of organisations across the sector can build and support PLHIV leaders to challenge stigma, exemplify resilience and be an asset to the HIV response.


Brent Allan, Positive Living Victoria
Brent Allan is the Executive Officer of Living Positive Victoria and has been working in the community response to HIV/AIDS since the early 1990’s both in Australia and abroad. Brent has in health education, community services management as well as public and social health experience at all levels of government. As a gay man living with HIV for more than 15 years he has been active in efforts to build the capacity of PLHIV through advocacy, education and representation nationally and internationally. He is a passionate advocate for community and consumer representation in health service policy, programming and evaluation.

Graham Brown (Presenter), Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University
Dr Graham Brown is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. Graham has worked in community based health promotion and research for 20 years, with a particular interest in the role of community based organisations and peer-led programs, building long term collaborations with state and national research centres and community organisations in Australia and Europe. Graham has adjunct appointments at the Burnet Institute and the Centre for Social Research in Health, and close links with the Australian HIV community sector.

Aaron Cogle, National Association of People Living with HIV Australia
Aaron is Executive Director of the National Association of People Living with HIV Australia

Daniel Reeders, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University
Daniel Reeders has been a health promotion practitioner for ten years, working in HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer screening with Aboriginal, CALD and sexually diverse communities. Most recently Daniel has been working at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society on the What Works and Why (W3) Project applying systems thinking and complex adaptive systems theory to the peer-led health promotion.

James Gray, Acon
Manager, Gay Men’s Sexual Health Programs, ACON

Rob Lake, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations
Rob Lake is the Executive Director of AFAO

Simon O'Connor, HIV Foundation Queensland
Simon O'Connor is the Executive Officer of Queensland Positive People

Simon Ruth, Victorian AIDS Council
Simon Ruth is the Executive Director of the Victorian AIDS Council

John De Witt, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW
Professor John De Witt is the Director of CSRH