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Personal stories

Thriving, a filmed performance poem, depicts the lived experiences of women with HIV

Thriving is a beautiful, inspiring and emotional filmed performance poem featuring seven women living with HIV who collaborated with Melbourne performance poet Fleassy Malay and speaks of the importance of visibility and inclusion for women with HIV.

The aim of Thriving is to raise awareness of  the experiences of women living with HIV and the HIV-related stigma they face as well as the global U=U message (Undetectable equals Untransmittable). U=U is based on more than 20 years of scientific evidence that a person with HIV who is on antiretroviral treatment and has an undetectable viral load, can not transmit HIV sexually.

Thriving will be shared publicly with Australian and international audiences for the first time on World AIDS Day on the 1 December 2023. More than half of the 38 million people living with HIV globally are girls and women, and HIV-related stigma impacts their physical and mental wellbeing, and often on a daily basis. They live in fear of their HIV status being shared with others; they can be rejected by family, friends, employers and community if found out; they can be criminalised; and they often have their sexual and reproductive rights denied.

Thriving was written by Fleassy Malay in collaboration with women living with HIV who reflected on their experiences in a series of workshops and was produced by Positive Women Victoria with an unrestricted grant from ViiV Healthcare Australia.

“We have blossomed in the harshest of terrain. Warded off plague and blame, and found a place to place our roots. We are fragrant, vibrant, and brimming with life.”

Words from Thriving, a filmed performance poem

Donate to Positive Women Victoria’s Rose Fund Appeal 2024 and support women living with HIV reach their potential.