The beginning of a new era

The first decade of the new century presented significant new challenges for the VAC/GMHC, characterised by an epidemic that was growing increasingly complex. It was a very different world to the fear and trauma of the 1980s, when people were dying from AIDS at an alarming rate, and the optimism of the 1990s, when there had been such hope that a cure would be found. The sense of urgency that defined the early years of the VAC/GMHC had subsided, and with the aid of antiretroviral therapies, people were living longer with AIDS. Some were well enough to return to the workforce and make plans for the future, but many were experiencing reduced quality of life due to social isolation, financial hardship and mental health issues.

Perhaps the greatest new challenge that arose as the organisation approached the end of its second decade was a growing complacency about HIV, particularly among young people who had not witnessed the darkest days of the epidemic. Far from being disheartened by the task that confronted them, the staff and volunteers of the VAC/GMHC rolled up their sleeves and focused on evolving their activities to meet the changing needs of the communities they worked with.


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