Welcome on behalf of AAC & PLWHA
In March 2002 – AAC and PLWHA staff (Daniel Coase, Kevin Schamburg and Marcus Bogie) gave a presentation at a Clinical Care Meeting at Canberra hospital entitled “If it is not on, it’s not on”.
At this meeting – past educational campaign and posters were on display to help with the historical review of effective safe sex messages
This early morning meeting unexpectedly continued into mid-morning as members from the medical fraternity and others became engrossed in the visual impact that past campaigns carried
So many resources have been long stored – so many stories – not only a history lesson but a time-travelling experience
Thus, today – culmination of many years collating resources from the archives of AAC
Remember the Grim Reaper; Condoman; the parodies of political figures; affirmative images of intimacy between gay men; a national government prepared to support overt imagery with unambiguous clear messages
How times change!
Last year – “Sex in Queer Places” – a resource for young people that fully complied with the Commonwealth Government Guidelines on the production of safe sex educational materials was withdrawn at the eleventh hour and censored without explanation or recourse
The materials in the exhibition gives us a social history lesson of the effectiveness of community responses to HIV/AIDS
They an indication of the reasons behind Australia’s historic and internationally renowned success in curbing the forecast growth in HIV/AIDS within the community
They are an indication of the importance of community engagement; the importance of effective partnerships; the importance of leadership
A lack of leadership – from the Federal Government – now – today – is not only a threat to gay men –to those most at risk of acquiring HIV – it is a threat to all Australians –
A lack of knowledge – a lack of effective and appropriate evidence based education is inexcusable
Talk as abstinence as a defence against HIV infection is simply stupid
This exhibition is a sober reminder of HIV/AIDS in our community
It is a sober reminder of the importance of continuing the struggle and continuing to engage those most affected by HIV/AIDS in determining a response
Urge you to ponder over the example of images on display here at CMAG
Let us know what you think – are they too explicit for the modern day audience – should we expect the likes of Tony Abbott – Commonwealth Health Minister to be confronted by them?
Should the condom become central again in our education campaigns?
What is the best engage our young people most effectively? What should be our defence against HIV/AIDS in 2004 and beyond?
The AAC is proud to make this invaluable resource officially available to the ACT community and to the nation
It is by far the most comprehensive collection of materials currently available in Australia and probably the world
It has been possible to bring this to you through two significant Heritage Grants from the National Library of Australia and a separate grant from the ACT Government through ACT Health.
Thank staff (especially Kevin Schamburg) and volunteers of AAC and staff at CMAG.
Now invite Megan Hansford and Allison Gordon – Project Managers for the AAC Library Collection to officially open the exhibition