As I reflect on the experiences Valerie presented and on the resilience of her people in the face of HIV and the rise in HIV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the northern parts of Queensland, I acknowledge the importance of working with community. That solutions to issues such as how to increase rates of testing; how to increase knowledge; and how to increase uptake of TasP need holistic, culturally safe and appropriate practice. These solutions must come from within the community itself. As clinicians we are just tools that may be used if required, but just as important is the reconnection of people with culture.
I reflected on Valerie’s words throughout the day when listening to many other speakers in further sessions that I attended during the day on topics such as peer navigators and HIV prevention initiatives in Australia. So much great work being done in this space.
I am a clinical nurse with 30 years experience. I have over 10 years experience in sexual and reproductive health. I hold a Masters in Advanced Practice (sexual health). I have extensive experience working in remote communities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Currently I work at Cairns Sexual Health. I wear two hats at Cairns Sexual health. I work as part of an outreach service team and additionally do some hours as Research Co-ordinator.