HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that weakens the immune system. It attacks and takes over immune cells, using them to reproduce itself. Infected cells can be found in many parts of the body and in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk and anal mucous.
VAC was formed in 1983 as a central part of the Victorian community response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. VAC continues to lead the response by providing a range of services which include prevention education, treatment and care of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and counselling services. We continue to evolve in response to the epidemic with robust business systems and an ever-changing strategic response and continuing dedication to our vision and service philosophy.
From the beginning we have used a social model of health which is aligned with the Ottawa Charter which determines that all people have the right to increase control over and improve their health. This model has required interaction and interdependence with many affected individuals and communities where our response to a continually changing epidemic has always been seen as a collective responsibility. A consequence of this is that care and support, health promotion and the prevention of the spread of HIV is integral to our work and requires community input and participation.