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Positive Women Inc.(July 2012)

In this podcast Jane Bruning, national coordinator of Positive Women Inc, talks about the history and services offered nationally to HIV+ positive women.

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This summary provides an overview of a podcast interview with Jane Bruning, the national coordinator of Positive Women Inc. Recorded in Auckland, New Zealand, Bruning discusses the history, services, and challenges faced by HIV-positive women in the country, specifically in the 1990s. Positive Women Inc was established in the late 1990s as a response to the lack of HIV support services tailored for women. Initially, support networks were focused on gay men who were predominantly diagnosed during the earliest outbreaks. Women felt their unique needs were unmet, prompting the creation of an organization exclusively for them.

Positive Women Inc started with the support of social workers and was later managed by the community of HIV-positive individuals. The organization recognized the commonalities in the experiences of living with HIV regardless of gender, but also highlighted distinct issues faced by women, such as pregnancy concerns and different social dynamics. Services offered by Positive Women Inc include annual retreats for women across New Zealand, offering a space for peer support and facilitated discussions, with experts speaking on topics like medication and safe sex. Family retreats are also organized to provide support for partners, children, and other relatives of HIV-positive women, acknowledging that HIV affects the whole family unit.

The community house in Auckland serves as the main hub, with regional gatherings also taking place to mitigate feelings of isolation experienced by women in more remote areas. The organization provides various resources, including a bimonthly newsletter, a helpline, and after-hours contact for staff, maintaining a vital link for those seeking support.

Despite the efforts, women living with HIV still face significant isolation, partly due to the stigma and fear of disclosing their status. This is exacerbated by the public perception of HIV, often associated with immorality or incorrect behavior, particularly in women. Moreover, medical professionals in rural areas may lack the experience and sensitivity required to manage HIV cases confidentially and competently, thus women may travel to larger cities for treatment to ensure privacy.

Positive Women Inc also provides support to HIV-positive youth, such as facilitating trips to specialized camps in Australia which greatly benefit their social and emotional well-being. The organization sees outreach and education as crucial areas that need more attention to combat stigma and improve general awareness of HIV in New Zealand.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:21st July 2012
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-003984).