David Menadue

Alfred Health set up an HIV Services Advisory Group last October to consult the HIV community about the way forward for their HIV Services. Some proposed changes, particularly to Fairfield House’s operations, had upset a number of people in the community and the hospital, to their credit, decided they should consult with the community before proceeding with any proposed changes to the service.

The Advisory Group includes five HIV Positive members, a representative from the Department of Health, and staff from the Alfred. The Alfred Health’s CEO, Andrew Way, chairs the Committee and has shown a willingness to take on board new ideas and suggestions.

At the first meeting in October last year, Andrew Way explained why the Alfred was thinking about regarding HIV services. The clinical environment around HIV is changing, he said, and care is moving more into the community with shared care with S100 prescribers becoming the central way that PLHIV are managed these days. There was also the likelihood that some community pharmacies will be able to dispense HIV medications. The Alfred doesn’t want to duplicate services if they are no longer required.

The Group has met three times and is working on three priorities:
1. Raising awareness of and improve access to PrEP at The Alfred and around
the State;
2. Promoting Cultural Safety in the services provided by The Alfred (which may
include achieving the Rainbow tick accreditation from Gay & Lesbian Health Victoria)
3. Review services for people needing interim levels of care (e.g. Horizon Place
and Fairfield House clients).

At the February meeting the group isited Horizon Place, a residential service for PLHIV run by the Alfred, so that all Group members could understand better what this service provides. The Group was then guided through Fairfield House. The ensuing meeting discussed the need for accommodation like Horizon Place into the future and whether there was still a need for respite for PLHIV.

A number of positive people have provided input to Group members about the Alfred’s services and suggestions about what services must remain areas in need of improvement or possible changes.

If you would like to have your say, feel free to contact Reference Group members Bernie Slagtman (0402 859885) David Menadue (0412753338) Max Niggl ( 0412 082 372) Phil Elphinstone (0466 726 277) or Michelle Wesley on (0421 329 984 ). Or email

Fathers & Feathers by Paul Woodward reviewed by Max Niggl

paul woodward

Paul Woodward hardly needs an introduction, he is an active member of the community having worked and contributed extensively to the HIV sector. Paul is British performance academic and storyteller, member of the Positive Speakers Bureau and currently completing his PhD in the Performativity of HIV Disclosure at Monash University. Paul has written and performs in the autobiographical theatre-work Fathers & Feathers, which was recently performed at the Victorian College of the Arts. Paul dedicated the performance to Living Positive Victoria’s Max Niggl, who inturn has written this review of the work for us:

Paul Woodward’s 55 minute solo show at the Victorian College of the Arts last Friday 4th April. It was pure theatre, yet a minimalist and magnificent show that drew everyone into his tightly scripted and physical demanding performance. Most of the audience was transfixed and on a roller coaster ride as we grappled with our own familial relationships. Paul’s ability to make the most of his extraordinary theatrical craftsmanship immediately engaged the audience.

It is a storytelling piece tracing moments of his relationship with his late father, which he also performed in London last October. This show was a second incarnation and featured Brodie May and Bryan Smith portraying his mother and father and other minor roles. Brodie and Bryan’s poignant and sometimes funny portrayals allowed Paul to focus on his story. Their interactions on stage showed the ebb and flow of a son’s relationship with his parents and with his partners and lovers.

The scene where he is subjected to physical violence and threatened with being murdered was compelling and very confronting. Another compelling scene was of Paul digging a grave in Africa where I felt we were there in the hot sun digging into the hard earth and grieving for others. Following on from that he painted the most beautiful story of the sun rising after the funeral and how life continues on.

Paul’s late father Derek seems to upstage him at times as the audience laughs, cries and relates so vividly to elements of his story such as coming out, acceptance of sexuality and of a life so fully lived. The finale with his mother’s words about his father’s love, then the significance of the three cast members holding hands like paper dolls portrayed both a love of life and the fragility of life.

The spellbound audience and the long applause then the silence afterwards showed how much Paul impacted upon our thinking about ourselves
BRAVO and a must see if you ever get the chance.

For more information about Paul, visit