As fellow journalist myself (last position as ABCTV’s COS in Melbourne for over a decade) I became involved in the Australian AIDS scene in the mid 1980’s when Australia decided that regardless of its size it wasn’t that big that it could cope with a youngster with HIV in its midst…….I refer of course to the most shameful page in Australia’s HIV history…the story of Eve van Grafhorst..the first Australian child …a NSW pre-schooler..to be infected with HIV via a blood transfusion.

Born prematurely, she needed 11 transfusion to survive and ironically, cruelly, it was the 11th that saved her and then finally killed her as an 11 year old. Horrified at the extent of the abuse and discrimination hurled against her, and her family, who were all finally obliged to flee to New Zealand for sanctuary…I set up my own AIDS charity….The Australian AIDS Fund Incorporated, here in Melbourne.It’s still going today.

You may care to visit our website at www.aids.net.au

With no paid staff….and no government funding…we are doing what we can in the field of AIDS….providing information resources and support in Australia; supporting the first HIV/AIDS hospice in Papua New Guinea (just outside Port Moresby) and we’re in the midst of building a school in the African nation of Malawi to help educate 300 kids in a remote village…may of them AIDS orphans. The school will be completed in about 6 weeks, but I need about 3,000 Australian dollars to build its toilets……and another 3,500 to provide seating, blackboards and other such components. Maybe your listeners drawn to your program today to hear if Kennedy had AIDS or not might want to help us.

Our address for donations is :-

The Australian AIDS Fund Incorporated,
PO Box 1347,
Frankston,
Victoria, 3199.

We are also showcasing Australian initiatives in the area of HIV prevention…one of these is the so-called Mary Magdalene Project. Melbourne University’s Professor Short is looking for 130,000 Australian dollars for a study project focussing on prostitutes in northern Nigeria. Roger Short has already proved that lemon juice kills HIV in the test tube…

Reports are that prostitutes in northern Nigeria have been using lemon juice as a contraceptive and also to ward off sexual disease. In such circumstances there would be no ethical barriers to investigating whether lemon juice is protecting them against HIV. This would be a godsend discovery.

Oddly, when Kylie Minogue was stricken by cancer and then was subsequently overwhelmed by such a tide of public sympathy..I wondered. What IF an Australian icon were to publicly reveal HIV infection…would that help break down the stigma faced by those trying to live with HIV?

World-wide we’d need a dozen such icons…figures like the late Princess Diana who simply held the hand of a man with HIV in London.

I don’t know that the truth or otherwise of whether Graham Kennedy died of an AIDS related disease is going to help anyone now that he’s dead. Desperately, we need to garner support for those struggling to live with it. In most countries beyond Australia, the revelation of such infection is actually worse than the infection…leading to rejection and even murder.

If your program this afternoon can somehow help our little bobbing boat, or anyone one of those engaged in caring for men, women and children with HIV, you could find yourself tempering truth with mercy.

Sincerely,

Brian Haill,
President,
The Australian AIDS Fund Incorporated,
PO Box 1347, Frankston, Victoria, 3199
Phone: (03) 9 770 9210
Email: [email protected]