World AIDS Day Awards Honour Heroes

The WA AIDS Council has paid tribute to the “heroes of the epidemic” at the 2013 World AIDS Day Awards.

“These dedicated individuals and organisations have worked tirelessly to improve the knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS and also impacted on the quality of life for those in Western Australia living with the virus,” WA AIDS Council CEO Andrew Burry said.

“On World AIDS Day 2013 it is important that we know what a difference people can make as for the first time we confidently stride towards an end to HIV in WA,” he concluded

The individual award was presented to former Executive Director of the Council, Trish Langdon. Langdon was awarded for her two decades of work in the HIV/AIDS arena. Her experience ranges from work in pediatrics, to volunteering at the WA AIDS Council to becoming a board member and progressing to become the organisation’s chair person. Langdon subsequently became a staff member leading the organisation for many years.

Langdon said she was very proud of the achievements of the council highlighting the creation of the Freedom Centre and M-Clinic. Langdon said World AIDS Day was a time to remember all the ones who didn’t make it, but it was also a time to remember all those who did.

Media organisation Glitz Multi-Media was recognised as the media group who had contributed in a positive manner to the education and awareness of the general public. The company was praised for their work creating visual media for the WA AIDS Council’s STYLEAID fundraiser and creating promotional videos for health campaigns.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award was given to the the David Wirrapanda Foundation. Vice Chair of the WA AIDS Council, Jonathan Hallet highlighted that since 2005 the foundation has run successful mentorship programs with young aboriginal people. The foundation works closely with the WA AIDS Council creating a sexual health awareness program.

Associate Professor Dr Marisa Gilles was recognised for her twenty years of work health work in rural and remote areas. Gilles holds a Masters of Public Health and a Masters of Epidemiology and is a fellow of the Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine. Since 1988 Gilles has been managing a small cohort of rural and remote HIV positive people throughout Western Australia.

Nicolle Valentin, a volunteer at the Freedom Centre, was praised for her work as an informal mentor and peer educator.

Nurse Leah Williams  was awarded for providing essential health and clinical services in the prevention and treatment of HIV. Based a Royal Perth Hospital, Williams was described as a professional who was passionate about helping patients make positive health decision for themselves, who helped patients adapt upon receiving a HIV diagnosis.

OIP Staff


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