In 2016 nearly half (49%) of all Australians were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas – this makes Australia one of the most multicultural societies on Earth. Tens of thousands of individuals immigrate to Australia every year from all over the globe for many different reasons. All of these individuals may face different challenges throughout this process, and it can sometimes be difficult to navigate a new environment.
This is especially true for people with HIV who are new to Australia. This population in particular may have more unique challenges around settling into life in Australia, when compared to the general population. These challenges can include past trauma, the initial move, visa issues, discrimination and stigma as well as navigating new systems.
Despite having a range of social supports for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, it can be very difficult for people to navigate aspects of Australian life such as the healthcare system, Medicare eligibility and the ability to build healthy social networks.
Interacting with these systems can be confusing for everyone, especially people who may have language barriers or trauma from past experiences with healthcare and government services. People with HIV may be even less confident to engage with support services in a new country due to the fear of disclosure of their HIV status and any potential stigma or discrimination.
This is why it is important for people from CALD backgrounds to build support networks and utilise the knowledge learned from the lived-experience of their peers. Engaging with peers has shown to assist people who are new to Australia with building supportive social networks and accessing healthcare and other settlement services. This is especially important for people with HIV, as finding a helpful, informed healthcare team can relieve a great deal of stress in a very stressful time. In between figuring out things like securing work and looking after children and their schooling, our health can sometimes take a backseat – this is where connection with your peers can be invaluable.
Research shows that peer-to-peer learning is highly effective, and peer support groups can result in people feeling more empowered and connected to their new environment. For these reasons, QPP hosts a Multicultural Group for people with HIV from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. This event aims to provide people with an opportunity to meet other people with HIV who may be new to Australia. Check the events page on the QPP website, or follow up on Facebook to keep informed of all of QPP’s social events and other information.
If you have any questions or need support call us today on 1800 636 241.
For further information about support for diverse communities, please see the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland’s website as well as Multicultural Australia’s website