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NZAF AGM: The AIDS Foundation board addresses the gay community

Tue 15 Nov 2005 In: HIV

Press Release NZ AIDS Foundation Board 15 November, 2006 NZ AIDS FOUNDATION BOARD FOCUSED UPON THOSE MOST AT RISK FROM HIV/AIDS The Board of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation is focused upon preventing HIV/AIDS with those most at risk, says NZAF Chairperson Simon Robb. “Our prevention focus has been, and will always be, people who are most at risk from contracting HIV. The evidence clearly shows us that the largest group in New Zealand comprises men who have sex whether other men (MSM),” says Simon Robb. Epidemiological data for the first six months of 2005 revealed forty-four MSM were diagnosed with HIV in New Zealand. A similar result in the second half of the year would make 2005 the worst in the history of the epidemic in this country. The NZAF holds its Annual General Meeting this weekend in Auckland and the Board is excited by the amount of interest that has been shown in it. “Our membership has increased over the past year and we have received about half a dozen remits for our members' consideration. With the epidemic showing a sudden increase in this country, we need the support of everyone possible and the interest in our AGM is a great sign,” he says. In particular the Board has welcomed a remit from former NZAF Executive Director and honorary Life Member Warren Lindberg. Mr Lindberg's remit seeks a series of endorsements from the AGM concerning the organisation's focus and the recent increase in HIV notifications. “Warren's remit is particularly timely. It provides a challenge to all of us to look at our work and see what we can be doing better. There is always something more that each of us can do,” says Mr Robb. In order to provide clarity and focus to the discussions on Saturday, the Board has developed a position statement that outlines the organisation's mission, focus and accountability. It also supports a remit from the board which proposes a process for review of the NZAF constitution. “We have received considerable feedback about concerns our members have with the existing constitution. However, any process for amending the constitution needs to be open and transparent before any change is implemented,” he says. A focal part of the consultation process is the establishment of a joint working party comprising representatives from the board and from the organisation's stakeholder communities. Once the working party has received feedback, proposed changes to the constitution will be considered by a Special General Meeting. “The board's remit recognises the importance of a transparent process. This is something we believe has always been important however haven't always got it right in the past - we want to this time,” says Mr Robb. POSITION STATEMENT: NZAF BOARD NOVEMBER 2005 Mission The mission of the New Zealand AIDs Foundation is to prevent HIV/AIDS and to provide support to those living with HIV/AIDS. The NZAF is committed to being an evidenced based organisation; accordingly, its focus will always be on those groups that research is demonstrating to be the most vulnerable or particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDs – both now and in the future – in other words NZAF's work will be driven by the epidemic. Focus To achieve this mission, NZAF's service delivery focus is to those most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS (both now, and those that may be in the future, as the evidence demonstrates). At this time, and so long as the research demonstrates, the focus will be primarily with MSM (“by MSM for MSM” – by “gay men for gay men”). The NZAF will also work to develop appropriate responses and provide support to other communities that maybe particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. This could be through the NZAF providing specific programmes to them (but preserving the principle of “by those communities for those communities”) or through providing them support and resources to establish their own service delivery organisation/networks (the choice remains theirs). Accountability The NZAF must remain accountable to those communities most vulnerable by the epidemic, as it's purpose is to minimise the transmission of those with the virus, as well as maximise the health of those living with the virus or AIDS. At the moment this is predominately MSM (including gay men). This accountability will be practised in a manner that respects the other relationships the NZAF has established (eg: relationships with the other communities that NZAF has fostered). Governance The governance of the NZAF must be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with best practice standards. This is best achieved through a skill based Board, whom develops through consultation with its members and other communities, a strategic plan that supports the Focus referred to above. Working Party The joint working party is to consult on this position statement, including, determining how best the means of accountability (referred to above) in relation to the Board can be appropriately reflected in the NZAF Constitution. NZAF Board press release - 15th November 2005    

Credit: NZAF Board press release

First published: Tuesday, 15th November 2005 - 12:00pm

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