VAC Newsletter - Spring 2017
21 Sep 2017
With the marriage equality survey underway, our community is keeping incredibly active at the moment. This issue of the VAC newsletter looks at some of the ways we've been taking action and how you can look after your wellbeing. We also look back at our third annual Lesbian, Bisexual & Queer Women's Health Conference, co-presented with ACON, and look forward to the 25th Anniversary of the Victorian Red Ribbon in the lead up to World AIDS Day. There's plenty more in this edition so check it out!
7 Sep 2017
Joint statement supporting a medically supervised injecting centre trial in Victoria
VAC has joined with 42 other organisations and individuals calling for a trial of a medically supervised injection centre in Victoria.
As leading community health organisations, peak bodies and advocates, we call on the Victorian Government to pass the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2017.
The trial of a medically supervised injecting centre (MSIC) in Richmond has widespread support from leading health experts and organisations, the Yarra City Council, and community leaders and businesses. Importantly, people who inject drugs also support a trial of an MSIC in Richmond, and coroners have now made formal recommendations in support of it as well.
MSICs are facilities where people can inject drugs under medical supervision. This reduces the harms associated with injecting drug use, namely fatal overdose and the transmission of bloodborne viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Other harms such as accidents, injection related injuries and infections, and stigmatisation of people who inject drugs are also reduced. MSICs also allow for a rapid response in the event of an overdose, the distribution of information about safer drug use practices, referrals to social support services, and treatment and other medical services.
The first MSIC opened in Switzerland in 1986, and Australia currently has one site, which has been operating in Kings Cross, Sydney, since 2001. There are now approximately 100 supervised injecting centres worldwide, a number likely to increase as governments recognise the importance of addressing substance use and harm from a health perspective rather than a law enforcement perspective. Canada has recently approved a number of these sites across their provinces, including three in Toronto alone, in response to the increases in drug-related overdoses. Remarkably, there has not been a single drug overdose fatality in any of the MSICs operating worldwide despite many having been in operation for decades. Meanwhile in Victoria there were over 900 fatal overdoses in the last two years alone.
Street-based injecting can often occur soon after purchasing substances, close to the point of sale, and in a hurry. MSICs move injecting drug use off the street and reduce associated harms. They also reduce the number of publicly discarded needles, which pose a potential health risk. This is important given that North Richmond needle and syringe program distributes 70,000 syringes each month, some of which residents report finding discarded in public spaces. In addition, MSICs reduce the demand on emergency services, which leads to significant cost savings and economic benefits.
The remarkable success of Sydney’s MSIC, and others worldwide, provides a viable model for Victoria to emulate; one that works in the best interest of those who use the facility, the surrounding communities, and the community at large.
The evidence is overwhelming, MSICs work. We urge the Andrews Government to follow the advice of health experts, residents, and community leaders, and allow an 18-month trial of an MSIC in Richmond.
Download the joint statement to see the full list of signatories.
3 Aug 2017
Joint Statement Opposing the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2017
“LGBTI communities are disproportionately impacted by drug use. The criminalisation of personal possession and use of drugs is counterproductive, adds to stigma and discrimination within these populations, and doesn’t recognise that substance abuse is a health problem that no amount of law enforcement can fix.” - VAC CEO Simon Ruth
12 Jul 2017
VAC Newsletter - Winter 2017
The Winter 2017 edition of the VAC newsletter includes: the RuPaul-inspired VACstravaganza fundraiser, National Volunteer Week, the expansion of the PrEPX trial into South Australia, and much more.
29 Jun 2017
PLC Newsletter - Winter 2017
Read the Victorian AIDS Council's Positive Living Centre (PLC) newsletter for Winter 2017.
19 Jun 2017
VAC launches Protocol for the Initiation of Hormone Therapy for Trans and Gender Diverse Patients
The Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) is proud to release our Protocol for the Initiation of Hormone Therapy for Trans and Gender Diverse Patients, based on the informed consent model.
Created by VAC for Equinox, the guide was designed and developed with rigorous community consultation to remove uneccesary barriers in accessing hormone therapies. This is the first publicly released clinical guidelines that were developed with and for the TGD community.
Download the guide in the link below.
17 May 2017
VAC responds to persecution of gay men in Chechnya in open letter to Julie Bishop
Following yesterday's "Pink Wolves" vigil in Federation Square, where over 500 members of the LGBTI community gathered to stand in solidarity with gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, VAC CEO Simon Ruth has issued an open letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, calling on the Australian Government to take action.
The release of the letter appropriately falls on 17 May marking IDAHOBIT - the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.
The letter can be read here or downloaded via the link below.
For media enquiries regarding the open letter, please contact: Caleb HawkCommunications Coordinatorcommunications@vac.org.au(03) 9865 67000409 829 463
14 Mar 2017
VAC's Trans and Gender Diverse Advisory Group seeks expressions of interest
VAC would like to invite expressions of interest from trans and gender diverse community members who would like to join the VAC Trans & Gender Diverse Advisory Group.
21 Feb 2017
VAC launches trans and gender diverse AOD reference guide
VAC is proud to launch a reference guide for Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Service Providers supporting the Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) Community.
20 Feb 2017
Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman, back by popular demand
Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman are coming back to Australia!
9 Feb 2017
VAC supports a trial of a medically supervised injection centre in Victoria
VAC supports the trial of a medically supervised injection centre in Victoria.
5 Jan 2017
PLC Newsletter — Summer 2016/17
Read the Victorian AIDS Council's Positive Living Centre (PLC) Newsletter for Summer 2016/17.
5 Jan 2017
VAC Newsletter — Summer 2016/17
Read the Victorian AIDS Council Newsletter for Summer 2016/17.
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