Anwernekenhe 6 – a brief summary of recommendations

Anwernekenhe 6 – a brief summary of recommendations

HIV Australia | Vol. 13 No. 3 | December 2015

Anwernekenhe 6 served as an opportunity to celebrate 21 years of Anwernekenhe events.

The conference managed to be both reflective (acknowledging past contributions and achievements to date) and forward-looking. Generational change was a key conference theme.

Participants commenced the conference with yarning circles, and the final workshop session involved three separate group discussions – for women, men, and sistergirls and brotherboys.

Each of these groups put recommendations to the conference and there was broad support for their propositions.

The women’s session recommended that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community response to HIV include a stronger focus on women, with this focus reflected in the development of resources (including online information) and health campaigns specific to women.

The session argued for improved access to HIV testing via communitybased and culturally appropriate services, and for greater participation by youth in all levels of the community response, including through youth participation in the ANA Board.

The men’s session recommended strategies for promoting community awareness of HIV – through Anwernekenhe 6 – a brief summary of recommendations proper protocols, collaboration between services, peer education, printed resources, community television, the adaptation of AIDS Council programs (where appropriate), and improved social and emotional wellbeing.

The session called for proactive prevention strategies, better access to rapid HIV testing and more consistency of servicing across communities.

It recommended strategies to enhance testing (normalising testing, offering incentives to test, developing resources that use appropriate language, improving inter-service collaboration, training for clinicians and incorporation of testing into annual health checks).

The men’s session recommended a range of ways to better link with and engage people living with HIV, including through targeted advocacy, use of the ANA website, and promotion of ANA through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

It also suggested strategies for engaging young Aboriginal men, including involvement of youth in program development and implementation, training and career opportunities for male health workers, support for peer workers and engagement of youth in the ANA Board.

The sistergirls and brotherboys session recommended greater attention to brotherboy identity in the work of the ANA, a sistergirl/ brotherboy retreat or conference, a poster campaign engaging Elders, and strategic lobbying targeting clinicians, government and other organisations to achieve education, policy and political goals.

The conference also supported a recommendation from the floor proposing that mainstream LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer) organisations take on more responsibility for combatting racism.

An important statement on behalf of youth participants indicated the preparedness of youth to take up the fight, while also seeking inclusion, support and mentoring from Elders, and more opportunities for mutual learning.

A number of recommendations emerged from the yarning circles, including from the women’s yarning circle, the gay/men who have sex with men yarning circle and the people living with HIV (PLHIV) yarning circle.

The PLHIV yarning circle recommended enhanced HIV education and testing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in rural and remote communities, training for prescribers of ART and national uniform access to free HIV medications, with no gap payments required in any jurisdiction.