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Nun awarded MNZM for HIV advocacy

Fri 8 Jun 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

A belated search through the Queens Birthday Honours awarded at the weekend has revealed that a noted early worker for the rights of people with HIV in New Zealand has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her effforts. Sister Paula Brett-Kelly, a Wellington Catholic nun, became committed to the cause of destigmatising people with HIV in the early days of the epidemic when it was commonly characterised as 'the gay plague.' Her early advocacy was all the more unusual when set against many religious leaders' claims that HIV was somehow God's revenge against those who had 'succumbed to the immorality of homosexuality." Brett-Kelly says she is very pleased to have received the honour, and suspects she was chosen to represent many others who also spearheaded work for HIV people's rights two decades ago."I am very conscious that I am perhaps representative of all those who have worked on HIV positive people's advocacy'" she said today. Brett-Kelly's nomination was initiated by the NZ AIDS Foundation with additional support coordinated by gay MP and government minister Chris Carter. NZAF Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier says Sister Paula " has been a steady and consistent voice of reason and compassion" during the HIV epidemic, and lauds her "personal generosity, unflinching commitment" to the fight against HIV infection and the support of people with HIV.     Ref: (j)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 8th June 2007 - 12:00pm

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