Get to know the work that The Sydney Children’s Hospital does for people living with HIV/AIDS

M∙A∙C Viva Glam Fund (previously known as the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund) is an international philanthropic initiative launched by the original founders of M∙A∙C Frank Angelo and Frank Toscan in 1994. At the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, they were concerned about the devastating impact the disease was having on friends and colleagues within the fashion industry, so they set to raise much-needed funds and support those affected. Over the past 25 years, M∙A∙C Viva Glam Fund has raised over USD$500 million globally that goes directly to a number of charities both internationally and locally to help those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

One of M∙A∙CAustralia’s local charity partners as part of M∙A∙CViva Glam Fund is The Sydney Children’s Hospital, specifically the Paediatric HIV Service, a state-wide service that provides medical, nursing and psycho-social support to children, young people and their families who are living with HIV. “The aim of the service is to help affected children and families maintain as normal a life as possible, and provide children with the opportunities needed to reach their maximum potential,” says Geraldine Dunne, Clinical Nurse Consultant at The Sydney Children’s Hospital. “The services we offer can be largely divided into three categories ̶ care of children living with HIV, which includes physical, social and emotional aspects of their care; care of women living with HIV throughout their pregnancy to prevent transmission of the virus to the infant; and Teen Camp and Camp Goodtime, a family camp.”

The Viva Glam Fund funds both Teen Camp and Camp Goodtime, which is free to all participants, and is positively received by participants, staff and volunteers, says Dunne. “The Teen Camp is the only camp in Australia and New Zealand for children and young people living with HIV between [the ages of] 11 and 18,” she explains. “Attending camp is often the first time that a child or a young person has met another HIV-positive young person, and this program aims to reduce isolation and stigma issues common to this group, providing psychosocial interventions and education around HIV. It provides a safe space where they can talk openly about their experiences, access support and connect with one another.”

Each camp includes work and education sessions that aim to provide participants with the opportunity to understand and learn more about HIV, the immune system and managing their health condition, plus how to take medicine, says Dunne. “It also helps to support young people to increase their self-esteem and confidence, including improving their perspectives and attitudes.”

A long-standing M∙A∙C Viva Glam charity partner, the Sydney Children’s Hospital is grateful for its partnership with M∙A∙C, says Dunne. “The generous support of the M∙A∙CViva Glam Fund has made Camp Goodtime and Teen Camp possible; it is entirely funded by donations and without this, it would not be able to be run. Thank you for the difference you are making in these young people’s lives!

For more information, visit The Sydney Children’s Hospital Paediatric HIV Service, or to donate, click here.