The Red Party National Project aims to engage students from all of Australia’s medical schools with issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, particularly global health issues including the impact of HIV/AIDS on endemic areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa.
Groups of medical students around Australia run Red Party campaigns that use the colour red in their promotions, with red being the internationally recognised colour for HIV/AIDS. These campaigns include both fundraising and educational events.
Why is it important?
Since the beginning of the epidemic approximately 39 million people have died of HIV/AIDS related causes.
Worldwide, there are approximately 35 million people living with HIV. 69% of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the life expectancy has fallen below 40 years, where it would have be above 60 without the HIV epidemic.
In Australia, the number of new HIV diagnoses has been gradually increasing since 1999.
History of the project
The Red Party initiative originated out of a branch of the global health focused student network Medsin in Manchester, UK. In 2007, a small group of medical students at the University of Western Australia, with the support of the Western Australian Medical Students’ Society, created Australia’s first Red Party. Since then, medical student organisations across the country have been running their own Red Party campaigns and significant fundraising has been achieved.
In 2011, Red Party became an official project of the Australian Medical Students’ Association and the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations.
This year is so important as 2015 is the year that the Millennium Development Goals were to be achieved, with goal 6 focusing on combating diseases having a significant impact on people living in poverty, including HIV/AIDS.
Ultimately, we want to see an end to the spread of HIV, reduced stigma towards people living with HIV and improved treatment methods and delivery to every person living with HIV. To work towards this our mission is to increase awareness of HIV and it’s global impact, promote sexual health and raise funds to help organisations working in HIV prevention, HIV treatment or assisting those whose lives have been effected by HIV/AIDS.
This year we are working towards strengthening the Red Party brand and making it a more cohesive campaign across the country. To help achieve this we have formed a partnership with YEAH – an Australian youth led sexual health promotion organisation. As part of this partnership we are developing official merchandise which will be provided to all Red Parties.
We know how significant the impact of HIV is on endemic areas overseas, and global health is our passion. This has driven us to research effective altruism with regards to HIV/AIDS so that we can provide information regarding where funds can be donated to make the biggest impact.
What can you do?
Get in touch with your local Red Party teams and find out how you can get involved.
Attend Red Party events, have fun and learn about sexual health and HIV/AIDS.
Get in touch with the Agents of YEAH, learn how to take charge of your own sexual health and how to educate others about sexual health.
Start conversations about HIV/AIDS and sexual health.
If you are keen to get involved or require any further information contact the Red Party National Project Managers, Tahlia Gadowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Laalithya Konduru (email@example.com).
Partnership with YEAH:
AMSA Global Health and Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS (YEAH) have a proud history of working together to provide high-quality resources to Red Party attendees that promote safe, fun, and consensual sexual health. Excitingly, this partnership was formalised in 2015, which saw YEAH also work with AMSA National Convention, National Leadership Development Seminar, and AMSA Academy.YEAH is Australia’s only youth-led sexual health organisation, and provides a range of irreplaceable programs that serve to improve the sexual health of young Australians. AMSA Global Health is excited to work with YEAH in helping to empower and educate medical students across a broad range of sexual health issues.
AMSA and YEAH are committed to promoting quality, youth friendly sexual health resources and information. Together we aim to align our advocacy work and the messages we are sending as young people engaged with sexual health issues.
The federal government has just announced that YEAH is to be defunded as of June 30, 2016. If YEAH no longer receives support from the Australian government, this will be a major blow to the sexual health education of young Australians. With rates of STIs on the rise, there has never been a more critical time for organisations such as YEAH to exist.
To support YEAH’s campaign, please consider signing this petition: https://www.change.org/p/sussan-ley-save-yeah-australia-s-only-youth-led-sexual-health-education-organisation.