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NZAF: HIV groups 'want us as CT's publisher'

Fri 23 Apr 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

The national HIV people's publication Collective Thinking is well received and is still published by the NZ AIDS Foundation because HIV peer support organisations want it that way, according to the Foundation. NZAF boss Rachael Le Mesurier Responding to calls late last week from Body Positive Auckland and a prominent HIV activist in Christchurch for it to relinquish control over Collective Thinking, a publication intended to be by and for HIV positive people, the NZAF says it was actually asked by HIV peer support groups to continue as publisher. "The NZAF recently consulted with HIV peer support organisations about the management of Collective Thinking but received a clear message that there was a lack of certainty amongst the groups as to who, if not the NZAF, would deliver it," says the  Foundation's Executive Director, Rachael Le Mesurier. "The NZAF was asked to continue the role with a specific reference to the need to ensure a cross section of interests in HIV were represented – for gay men, women, children, African communities, clinicians and researchers," she adds. Body positive has accused the NZAF of co-opting the publication, for which the NZAF is currently seeking tenders to take the quarterly magazine online, to present "spin doctored information." "Since 2005, the editorial content has been sub-contracted by the NZAF," says Le Mesurier. "Currently there are two sub-contracted editors, one of whom is living with HIV. Neither are NZAF employees." The tender document does not address the ongoing editorial oversight of the site other than to say that a number of its staff will be involved in the development process. Concern was also been raised regarding the the Glen Mills 'HIV predator' case which hit the gay and national media from May to December. Coverage of information and issues stemming from the case has been noticeably lacking from Collective Thinking. In response the Foundation has referred to the November issue which contains a small item which advised that the Foundation and other HIV testing clinics had noticed an upswing in requests for tests in the wake of publicity surrounding the case and that Foundation facilities had been "very well utilised." "The NZAF welcomes feedback on Collective Thinking and encourages everyone to contact the editors or the NZAF directly," says Le Mesurier. "The majority of feedback from a wide range of readers - including members of HIV peer support organisations and individuals living with HIV, their families, clinicians, NGO groups, and funders - has been positive."    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 23rd April 2010 - 11:54pm

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