• Leah McLeod

COMMUNITY SUPPORT SAVES AIVL

In December 2015, a change to funding arrangements for the national community response to Blood Borne Viruses (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) cast doubt over the future of AIVL, the Australian agency representing people who use drugs.

“For over 25 years, AIVL has worked in partnership with the drug using community and government to achieve globally recognised results in reducing the harm related to the use of illicit drugs,” said Niki Parry, AIVL President. “The prospect of our organisation’s closure represented a loss for people who use drugs as well as to the broader Australian community who have benefitted from our work.”

In response, the #SaveAIVL Campaign has rallied our community and its supporters to let the government know what AIVL means to them.

“We have had a tremendous response to our campaign and we want to say a big thank you to all of our supporters.” Parry explained. “People who use drugs, peer based organisations, service providers, researchers- even our supporters from overseas- all became vocal about the critical importance of AIVL now and into the future.”

“Accompanying the one thousand signatures on our online petition were hundreds of comments from signatories. As well as citing scientific evidence and policy statements, the commentary supporting AIVL has been personal, often describing how our work has had a direct impact on these people’s lives.”

“We are also aware that many people have written directly to their Members of Parliament and Senators, tabling this funding issue in a range of forums.” Parry was keen to describe the outcome of the community engagement and mobilisation. “We would like our community to know that the government has taken notice of the #SaveAIVL campaign.”

“It’s with great relief that I announce that the government has made a funding commitment that enables AIVL to operate into the future.”

“We have worked closely with Minister Ley and her Department to assess the needs of people who inject drugs and people living with Hepatitis C to ensure funding is secured to deliver national BBV and STI prevention programs”

Craig Cooper, AIVLs CEO (Interim) describes what this means for the organisation, “AIVL is extremely excited to continue our partnership with government and our other collaborators in the community BBV/STI sector, NAPWHA, AFAO, Scarlet Alliance, ANA, Hepatitis Australia and ASHM to work towards the priorities for the key affected populations we represent.”

“We are entering a new era with Hepatitis C treatments, which places people living with Hepatitis C in a position to consider treatment options.” Cooper said. “It’s thanks to the broader community who came together to support us that we are able to continue crucial work, such as ensuring the successful access to the new hepatitis C treatments for people living with hepatitis C.”

“AIVL is considering a number of funding options as a result of the funding uncertainty. One way our community can contribute the work of the agency is by making a donation, which can now be done via the AIVL website.”

For media enquiries contact Craig Cooper on 0422 409 200, please distribute via relevant eLists and networks.

Craig Cooper
Executive Officer (Interim)
Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) Inc.