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St Vincent’s HIV Ward to be Honoured at LGBTI Community Service Awards

Former staff and patients of Ward 17 South at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney will be recognised with a special accolade at the 2014 Honour Awards, NSW’s annual celebration of outstanding achievements within, or contributions to, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community. 

The renowned facility, which marks its 30 year anniversary this month, will be honoured with the ACON President’s Award in recognition of the significant role that staff and patients played in improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by HIV and AIDS. 

History of Ward 17

Established in September 1984, Ward 17 South was Australia’s first dedicated HIV/AIDS ward which quickly became the healthcare epicentre for people affected by HIV and AIDS, with over half the country’s HIV and AIDS patients being treated at the hospital over the next 20 years. 

During this time, the Hospital’s Sisters of Charity and staff played a vital role in delivering care and support to patients, as well as family members and friends. Their work in relation to treatment and research has also contributed to improving the local and global response to HIV and AIDS. In addition to the Sisters and staff, the award also recognises the contribution of the patients of Ward 17 South, whose participation in research was also vital to improving HIV treatment and prevention initiatives. 

Due to significant advances in treating HIV, Ward 17 South was decommissioned several years ago.
However, St Vincent’s continues to hold a leadership role in clinical care and research in HIV medicine.
Ward 17 South’s award is in addition to seven other awards being contested by 29 finalists at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on Wednesday 17 September as part of the annual gala fundraising event for LGBTI charity Aurora and for ACON, NSW’s leading HIV and LGBTI health organisation.

The Award

ACON President Mark Orr says the staff and patients of Ward 17 South are worthy recipients of the special award. “The contribution of the Sisters, the staff and the patients of Ward 17 South to the health and wellbeing of our community has been truly outstanding and we’re delighted that we can pay tribute to this service with this much deserved honour,” Mr Orr says. 

“Due to the hospital’s proximity to Australia’s largest community of gay men, St Vincent’s was truly at the coal face of Australia’s response to HIV and AIDS during the worst years of the epidemic. Over that very unhappy time, the dedication and compassion of the Sisters and the staff, as well as the courage and resilience of the patients, was extraordinary and inspiring. 

“Through their efforts, the horrific impact of HIV and AIDS on thousands of people was reduced. And in no small measure, comfort and hope were provided to many people who were struggling with the severe stigma that being HIV positive carried with it in the early years of the epidemic. For the staff and patients of Ward 17 South it was the worst of times, but it brought out the best in these remarkable people, and ACON is proud to be acknowledging and remembering their service and sacrifice in this way.”

The Celebration

“We expect the evening will be a truly memorable occasion for people connected with Ward 17 South, and I encourage them to join our inspirational finalists and all our guests whose attendance we’ll be honouring with a wonderful celebration of our community.”

Guests will be treated throughout the evening to quality wines and beers, delicious gourmet canapés and great music. Guests will also be able to pick up a bargain at the amazing silent auction which features over $100,000 worth of luxury items.      

WHAT: Honour 2014 – Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Party 
WHERE: Ivy Ballroom, 330 George St, Sydney
WHEN: Wednesday 17 September 2014 
TIME: 6:30pm – 11pm
COST: $85 per person (inc. quality wines and beers, delicious canapés and fabulous entertainment)

ENDS - Media contact:  Michael Badorrek, ACON Media and Communications Manager 
T: (02) 9206 2001     M: 0400 358 109     E:

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