A special community forum is set to consider the past, present and future effects of HIV on gay men within the context of the soon to be released film Holding The Man.

The film, which is due to open nationally on August 27, is based on the much loved memoir of former ACON HIV educator Timothy Conigrave and provides a compelling personal insight into the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS during the early years of the epidemic.

HIV support organisations ACON, Positive Life NSW and The Institute of Many (TIM) believe the release of the film provides a unique opportunity to reflect on how HIV has shaped and will continue to affect the lives the gay men, and so they have joined together to present HIV And The Man at the Oxford Hotel in Sydney on Wednesday 2 September.

Writer, HIV activist and TIM founder Nic Holas will moderate the discussion which will feature a multi-generational panel of gay men including Holding The Man playwright and screenwriter Tommy Murphy, acclaimed photographer & artist William Yang, HIV campaigner and the creator of the undetectable HIV  tagline (+u) Cam Clarkson, board member of Positive Life NSW  Paul Caleo and NSW Sex Workers Outreach Project CEO (SWOP) Cam Cox.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says the forum will allow community members to consider the historical and contemporary experiences of gay men in relation to HIV: “Holding The Man is one of our community’s most cherished loves stories and provides an incredibly moving account of HIV’s influence on our community’s heritage. We’ve come a long way from those dark days, with the potential now to end HIV transmission in NSW by 2020. This forum will take us back to those turbulent times but will also look forward to how HIV will continue to impact on gay men. ”

Mr Holas says the forum will consider a range of key questions: “What can we learn from the past as we move towards an HIV free future? What does it mean these days to be a gay man with HIV compared to 20 years ago? And how can we continue to honour and celebrate the memory of our lost loved ones in a post-AIDS Australia? These are all issues that feature to some degree in the lives of many gay men and this forum will give us a chance to consider them within the context of the emotions and memories generated by the film.”

Positive Life NSW CEO Craig Cooper encourages people living with HIV to come to the forum and add their voice to this important conversation: “This is a timely reminder of where we have been as a community and what we have achieved as people living with HIV. This can be a moment of celebration for people living with HIV, given the recent data from the Sydney gay periodic survey and NSW HIV Strategy Annual Data Report 2014, which confirms the motivation of people living with HIV to remain on treatments and engaged in care. This has resulted in significant community viral suppression, reduced onward transmission of HIV and improved health outcomes for people living with HIV.”

Light refreshments will be served after the forum.

WHAT:  HIV And The Man Community Forum
Wednesday 2 September 2015, 6:30pm
Gingers, Lv 1, Oxford Hotel, 134 Oxford St, Darlinghurst

Andrew Hamadanian, ACON Media & Communications Officer
E: |  T: (02) 9206 2044  |  M: 0419 555 768


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