The Healthy Communities Board today announced a significant decision to return to its former name of Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC), in a bid to align with its broader national network, refocus the organisation, salute its past and reflect a new leadership era

Healthy Communities, which operated as Queensland AIDS Council until 2006, decided on the change of name on Wednesday night through a unanimous board decision, marking a decisive move towards consistency with the organisation’s interstate counterparts and a brand that is well known and understood nationally.


The proposal to return to the Queensland AIDS Council name will be put to a vote of members at the Annual General Meeting on 19 November, with a 75 per cent majority required for the change to take effect.


Healthy Communities President Joanne Leamy said the decision reflected a new era for the organisation, which recently underwent a change in leadership with a new executive director and numerous new board members.

“The Queensland AIDS Council was formed when HIV first emerged in Queensland,” Ms Leamy said.


“This proposed change, made in our thirtieth anniversary year, recognises the trailblazing efforts made by our community to respond to the epidemic in those early days.


“It also demonstrates that while we respect the past we remain focussed on the future.


“The HIV epidemic in Queensland is changing, so how we talk about ourselves is critical to ensuring we remain focussed on this health issue and that everyone understands who we are and what we do.”


Healthy Communities already runs a number of HIV prevention programs funded by private donations and fundraising, including its Men4Men health promotion initiative targeted at gay men, and its after-hours, community-based HIV/STI testing clinic every Tuesday night from its Helen Street Resource Centre, staffed by volunteers.


The organisation also runs its successful 2 Spirits programs, a Commonwealth funded HIV/STI prevention initiative focussed on gay men and sistergirls in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


Ms Leamy said although the decision was unanimous, it was not made lightly.


“The board discussed a concern that some groups in our community might misconstrue this decision as a move away from addressing the health needs of the entire LGBTI community, but I would like to make very clear that this is not the case,” she said.


“We will continue to be an organisation that promotes the health of all LGBTI Queenslanders through a range of initiatives, including our MindOUT! LGBTI mental health initiative, Many Genders One Voice and Lesbian Health Action Groups, Gender Clinic and LGBTI ageing program.


“These inclusive, health-focused LGBTI programs will really complement our HIV prevention efforts.”


Following an extensive consultation process, the Healthy Communities board also resolved to put the inclusion of intersex Queenslanders in its constitution to a vote of members at the upcoming AGM.


New Executive Director John Mikelsons said this was another demonstration of the organisation’s efforts to be inclusive of all members of the LGBTI community.


“We welcome an opportunity to include Intersex Queenslanders in our work, and look forward to working with our community to best address their needs in the weeks and months ahead,” Mr Mikelsons said.