Foreword

    In this series of interviews titled You're Not Alone... Panos Couros has elicited a fascinating history and development of the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council.

    The interviews are from many different perspectives from a range of people who have been involved with NTAHC at varying times during its 30 year history.

    In the early days of NTAC a group of dedicated visionary people set up a community based organisation to help the increasing numbers contracting and dying with AIDS, often without care or support. A disease that was so frightening and for which there was no known cure. A disease which evoked so much discrimination and hostility based on ignorance.

    The interviews move through to the present day covering developments in both Alice Springs and Darwin and how their respective Councils became unified. The inclusion of Hepatitis which was becoming a significant problem adds a new dimension. The issues affecting people of every nationality and every sexual identity.

    The interviews are raw and honest expressions of how a variety of dedicated people experienced their role in NTAHC, whether in Alice Springs or Darwin and serving the whole of the Northern Territory.

    Staff members, clinicians, medical advisers, counsellors, carers, board members, those involved with the needle exchange program, sistergirls, education programs, sex workers, Aboriginal health workers, those providing a "safe haven", those distributing free condoms or promoting good diet and well-being, those establishing good governance and protocol systems, volunteers in a range
    of areas – all have been interviewed and told their story.

    Medical research has provided much in the way of medication since the start of the epidemic.

    NTAHC now has the important role of prevention, education, counselling, caring, providing support, assistance and advice and addressing the issues
    of stigma and discrimination that still accompanies these diseases.

    As happens to many organisations there have been personality conflicts. There have been ups and downs. There have been great problems to overcome. There have been great achievements to celebrate.

    Through the good and the bad years NTAHC have organised some brilliant events. There are vivid descriptions of Candlelight Vigils, World AIDS Day events, Dance Parties and much else.

    Ultimately NTAHC has come through stronger than ever, thanks to so many, including those in these very inspiring interviews.

    Sally Thomas, May 2016
    NTAHC Patron