A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Body Positive and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) was signed this evening, marking a new era of collaboration between the two organisations.
The management of positive peoples’ magazine Collective Thinking was also signed across from the NZAF to Body Positive.
The “simple and straightforward” MOU states that both parties agree to an exchange of information on policy and human rights issues to maximise benefit for people living with HIV (PLWH), regional and national HIV/AIDS planning and policy, promotion of each party’s mission and services, and opportunities for the development of shared projects.
Both organisations also agree to promote the mission and vision of each organisation, including the support of PLWH and the promotion of condom and lubricant use as the essential means to prevent the spread of HIV.
While it was joked that the simplicity of the document – and the fact that three lawyers sit on the Body Positive board – meant that the MOU could and should have come earlier, both Body Positive and the NZAF acknowledge the difficulties of the past as they move forward into a future of collaboration.
“Not to dwell on the past too much, but it has taken two years to get to a point where we can sign an MOU and have Collective Thinking signed over to us,” says Body Positive CEO Bruce Kilmister. “There were times where we wondered where we’d go, if anywhere. We really have to thank Shaun Robinson for the transformation of this relationship from the previous board.”
NZAF head Shaun Robinson says, “The signing of these documents shows a maturing of both organisations. The issues we’re dealing here are much too big to be squabbling amongst ourselves.
“We have to work together in order to support people living with HIV and AIDS whilst working to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS by promoting a condom culture.
“As for Collective Thinking, we understand that the NZAF has in the past taken on projects to keep them going, and that we have often taken a little while to let go. Now we enter a new phase where we understand that while we speak to a couple of thousand people living with HIV, Body Positive speaks as people living with HIV. They are the primary voice for this group.”
Stay tuned for more information on the return of Collective Thinking.