Natasha Stott Despoja AM campaigns for HIV positive women

Burnet Institute

21 February, 2013

Burnet Ambassador Deanna Blegg with ENUF Ambassadors Natasha Stott Despoja and Ian Smith.

Burnet Institute Board member Natasha Stott Despoja AM has been announced as an ambassador of Living Positive Victoria’s ENUF campaign with husband Ian Smith.

Ms Stott Despoja and Mr Smith will speak out against the discrimination and stigma faced by women living with HIV.

Living Positive Victoria Executive Officer, Brent Allan welcomed the couple as ambassadors.

“All our ambassadors represent a different part of the community, allowing them to educate those they come in contact with so the ENUF message is spread as widely as possible,” Mr Allan said.

While women make up a relatively small proportion of cases in Australia, globally HIV is disproportionally a disease of women and their children. In Australia, women make up about nine per cent of all people living with HIV and this means their voices too often go unheard.

“We have had nearly 30 years of progress in preventing, diagnosing and treating HIV around the world and Australia has been a leader but at least one major impact of the illness has not changed – the stigma surrounding the disease,” Ms Stott Despoja said.

Mr Smith is on the board of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and works with a number of other not-for-profit organisations.

“Awareness campaigns like ENUF are about challenging the negative stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes faced by all HIV-positive people,” Mr Smith said.

“Natasha and I want to increase public knowledge of HIV stigma faced by women living with HIV, which can have a profound effect on their mental health and wellbeing.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about the ENUF campaign.


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