The HARP Unit Red Ribbon Grants are now open!

The Grants support projects that:

  • Align with the World AIDS Day (WAD) theme – ‘Ending HIV’
  • Engage the general community around HIV
  • Work with existing partnerships, especially those in healthcare settings- General Practice, Hospitals & Primary Health Networks, NGOs
  • Promote the idea, engaging media and social media

Your local HARP contact for the grants is Scott Lockhart, available on 4221 6742 or

ISLHDRed Ribbon Application Form2015

ISLHDRed Ribbon Grantsguide 2015

Australian HIV Epidemic Continues

In Australia, the HIV epidemic continues. Just like in other high-income countries that offer high-quality, widely accessible HIV prevention, treatment and care, HIV infection rates in Australia have been steadily climbing since 1999, with the single biggest
annual jump of 10% reported in 2012.

The reason is human behavior. Optimism began to creep in when life-saving
anti-retroviral therapies (ART) transformed HIV/AIDS from a certain death sentence into a manageable, if medically complex, chronic condition from the mid-1990s.

To date, Australia has been at the forefront of global efforts to combat the HIV
epidemic since our much debated “grim reaper” campaign of the 1980s. Australia’s world-class medical researchers helped develop ARTs and have made a major
contribution to the use of ARTs in prevention, as the drugs drastically reduce the “viral load” in HIV positive people, so reduce the risk of transmission.

However, increasing risk-taking is outpacing these significant advances in medical science. In 2012 more than 1,200 new cases were diagnosed in Australia, bringing the estimated number of people living with HIV to 25,708.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Would you like to host a RED RIBBON Surfboard?

Red Ribbon closeupThe HIV/AIDS and Related Programmes Unit (HARP) would like to invite you to consider hosting a Red Ribbon, World AIDS Day surfboard within your place of work(see attached photo of board).

The surfboard has been custom made by SKIPP for HARP, featuring the Red Ribbon as the prominent design. Thirty one years after the HIV virus was first diagnosed, the Red Ribbon is the enduring symbol of support and solidarity for people living with HIV.

We invite you to host the Red Ribbon surfboard at your service for two weeks as part of a 6 month competition tour.

The draw for the lucky winner will be on Friday 28th February 2014.

We ask that the surfboard be displayed in a secure, monitored area such as a foyer or entrance to your service. The surfboard will be delivered to you with its own stand and a securing device, which we will position on delivery.

HARP also ask that you display the surfboard in your workplace along with the accompanying poster on how to enter the competition.

Your support will be free of any administration and there are no money handling requirements to be a host.

The HARP Unit will be able to provide your service with additional sexual health resources should you wish to make this available to your clients or staff.

The Red Ribbon surfboard is now into its 5th year of touring in the Illawarra & the Shoalhaven and we greatly appreciate your support.

Should your service wish to host the HARP unit’s Red Ribbon surfboard or if you require further information, please contact Scott Lockhart at the HARP unit on;


Telephone: 4221 6742

EOI flyer 2013

We will collate all the expressions which closes Friday 26th July and advise all hosts if they have been successful or not.

Please be aware that we receive a  high volume of requests and host places are limited.

Interagency Alert – 7 Jan 2013

The Quilt

Since its inception on 1 December 1988, World AIDS Day has been a significant factor in the ongoing global fight against HIV/AIDS. First diagnosed in 1981 HIV/AIDS is the major infectious disease of the late 20th century.

The theme for this years World AIDS Day is ‘HIV/AIDS is still here’ and while there has been a shift in attitudes to HIV/AIDS in Australia, there are still around a 1000 cases a year of people being infected with HIV.

Education has been an important part of changing attitudes with community and government using World AIDS Day as a focus point for activities.

The Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt, of which this multi-panel quilt forms a part, is an evocative record of those who were lost to HIV, many of them in their 20s and 30s.

The Quilt records memories of those vibrant young people who faced their death in times of ignorance, often with no help, no friends (many had died already), family denial and
discrimination. Some panels are anonymous, while many are now supported by documentation such as written descriptions by the maker, photographs and eulogies.

As a result, the AIDS Quilt tells us a great deal about social change and changing attitudes to safe sex, gay culture and death in the late twentieth century in western societies.

The Powerhouse Museum has acquired the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt into its collection and quilt panels are also available to view online.

For more information click here

The 2012 Aboriginal Community Golf Day

The ISLHD HARP Unit was again proud to support the Illawarra Aboriginal Community Golf Day at Shellharbour Links on Friday 7th December. The 2nd year HARP has been associated with the Community Golf Day saw over 100 golfers tee off in warm and calm conditions at The Links.

Participants traveled from the far flung climes of Coffs Harbour and the Riverina to participate in this fun, community building event.

This year saw Geza Belley from the First Step Program NSP as guest speaker over a well-earned lunch after a vigorous and competitive though friendly round of ambrose-style golf.

Whilst there was an award for the best round, most agreed ‘golf’ was the winner on the day!

Aboriginal Golf Day (1)

Geza Belley and Warwick Drew of the First Step Program with their unique style of ‘doubles’ golf

Aboriginal Golf Day (2)

Geza Belley lines up a crucial ‘birdie’ putt, with guidance by Warwick Drew of the First Step Program

Aboriginal Golf Day (3)

Geza Belley enjoys the day on the green prizes over lunch.

Aboriginal Golf Day (4)

The Illawarra Aboriginal Golf Day attendees enjoy guest speaker

Illawarra-Shoalhaven Medicare Local

Health LocalThe Illawarra-Shoalhaven Medicare Local (ISML) is a not-for-profit organisation established to achieve improvements in the health and wellbeing of our community.

We support doctors and general practices and connect them to other health services such as dietitians, exercise physiologists and podiatrists, as well as to our local hospital networks.

ISML also focuses on preventative medicine: healthy lifestyles and wellness.

Mental health is another ISML focus. We help children, adolescents and adults experiencing problems with their emotional, social or psychological health by providing access to sessions with experienced mental health nurses, psychologists and clinical

ISML operates the region’s two headspace youth health hubs which help with general health, mental health and well-being and with alcohol and other drug issues for young people aged 12-25 and their families.

ISML is working to improve the patient journey, working with patients and the local clinical community to improve awareness of the availability of services and access to them.

Read more about ISML at

Aboriginal Hepatitis C Retreat 2012

The Aboriginal Hepatitis C Retreat was held for the second year running on Tuesday 13th November until Thursday 15th November at the Jamberoo Valley Lodge.

Six participants from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven as well as two from Sydney took part in the 3 day retreat. The retreat once again proved very popular with participants, with one participant stating “it was in easy speak so I understood more about treatment then I ever
have before”.

The participants engaged in sessions with the Hepatology clinic on Hepatitis education and treatment, a dietician on the importance of a good diet and exercise when living with Hepatitis C, with mental health on self care and with first step on Hepatitis C prevention and access to community needle and syringe programs.

Aunty Phyllis and Uncle Stephen came in and ran a workshop on traditional arts and crafts which the participants found very rewarding and they valued the opportunity to talk about and further discuss what they had learnt from the sessions earlier in the day.

Participants left having gained a better insight into Hepatitis C and the treatment options now available. Several of the participants are close to undergoing treatment, whilst others are now considering finding out more about treatment, or having a second attempt at treatment.

This is a fantastic outcome.

A special thanks to Natalie Beckett, Aboriginal Hepatitis C access coordinator for once again organising such a successful event.

The Female Condom

The Female CondomFemale condoms are worn during sexual intercourse as a method of contraception and also to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The female condom is made from polyurethane and is inserted into the vagina before sex. It is about 15cm long and has two flexible rings, one at each end, to keep it in place in the vagina. One of the rings is closed and this end rests inside the woman’s vagina. The other ring, which is open, rests outside.

The advantages of the female condom

  • It is a safe, effective and reversible method of contraception
  • It can be obtained without a prescription
  • It provides protection against STIs for men and women
  • Unlike the diaphragm, women do not need a fitting or a medical Examination before use
  • It can be used with any type of lubricant e.g. oil based lubricants
  • The polyurethane condom allows for heat transmission, which may make sex more enjoyable
  • The external ring may stimulate the clitoris, making sex more pleasurable

If you would like to order the female condom the HARP Unit now have these in stock. Maximum of ten per order.

“The Talk” one day workshop

This workshop provides participants with current information on sexual health including HIV, STIs and healthy relationships. The workshop is designed for people working in the voluntary, youth and community sector who deal with sexual health issues, or who have a general interest in the area.

We will cover STIs, HIV, Consent, Negotiation and the Law, Sexuality and Gender & Healthy Relationships.

Tuesday 12th February 8.30am-3.00pm
Ghanda Hall, Nan Tien Temple 180 Berkeley Road, Berkeley

Vegetarian buffet lunch and light refreshments provided

Click here to register:

A collaborative initiative of the HIV/AIDs & Related Programs Unit (HARP) and Healthy Cities Illawarra

World AIDS Day – Saturday 1 December


World AIDS Day






Top 5 myths about HIV

Myth 1: It’s only gay men who get HIV.
Anyone can be susceptible to HIV/AIDS, regardless of their sexual orientation. Worldwide, 50 percent of infections occur in women. In the US, 31% of new HIV infections each year
occur in people infected via heterosexual contact. Importantly, at risk behaviour can lead to HIV infection for anyone.

Myth 2: You cannot get HIV if you are the ‘top’ or insertive partner in anal intercourse.
False! HIV is contained in anal mucous. This means during insertive anal sex the virus can enter the penis at the opening of the tip and through cuts or sores on the shaft.
Wear a condom and you won’t need to worry about it.

Myth 3: You can get HIV from receiving oral sex.
You can get HIV from kissing. You can get HIV from sharing glasses, forks, spoons,
or other utensils.
HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva. You can however, get HIV by having oral sex with a man or a woman. Receiving oral sex (which would expose you only to saliva) is very low
risk for HIV. But giving oral sex (exposure to pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions or menstrual blood) is risky for HIV. The more of these body fluids entering mouth, the greater the risk. This is why it is important to use a latex barrier during oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

Myth 4: HIV can penetrate through condoms.
False! Religious groups and conservative commentators have done a disservice to the campaign against HIV by perpetuating the myth that the virus can penetrate a condom.
Condoms continue to be a reliable protection against HIV. If worn with every act of sexual intercourse (including oral sex) you will not get HIV. If the condom breaks, there is
medication available to that may prevent the transmission of HIV. This is called PEP and is available in most hospital emergency rooms. It is most effective if taken within
twenty-four hours but can work up to seventy-two hours after possible exposure to HIV.

Myth 5: HIV-positive people cannot have children.
Women living with HIV can, and do have children. Certain steps and precautions have to be taken. If a male partner has HIV, the practice of ‘sperm washing’ is used to separate out the genetic material from the semen and (IVF) methods are employed to impregnate the female partner. An HIV-positive woman may take HIV medication during the pregnancy and consider a caesarean section delivery if advisable. These precautions lead to less than a 1 percent chance of passing HIV on to the child.

It is important to remember that although these facts are accurate, there will be different experiences of HIV and AIDS around the world. The most prominent example is the lack of
access to medication in the Developing World.