The Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) is an independent community based health promotion charity. QuAC was formed in 1984 by a group of largely gay men in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Queensland. From that time the Queensland AIDS Council grew to deliver HIV prevention programs, client services for people with HIV, peer support through Queensland Positive People and we provided a strong voice on HIV and gay issues.
In November 1984 about thirty individuals from the gay community called a meeting in a room of the Alliance Hotel, Brisbane. From this meeting, and others, the Queensland AIDS Council Incorporated (QuAC), was established to coincide with the first AIDS Awareness week in April, 1985.
In late 1986 - before government funding became available - QuAC sought support from all church groups in Brisbane for this growing community need. The Sisters of Mercy gave QuAC a little house behind the Mater Hospital in South Brisbane and supported QuAC in a range of financial and other ways for years.
The years from 2005 onwards were a period of transition and revitalisation for QuAC. Changes in HIV medication, coupled with the outsourcing of health care for positive people meant that the traditional role of QuAC evolved in order to continue making a contribution to an LGBTI community whose needs had shifted considerably. In 2006, the organisation formally adopted a new name, the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC) which it kept for more than 8 years.
As part of this evolution, QuAC’s role expanded to encompass broader lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health, and from 2013 intersex health. QuAC still maintains a focus on its traditional work of health promotion and information amongst gay men and men who have sex with men.
2012/2013 saw further changes to the organisations funding, and new players emerge on the scene including the HIV Foundation formed by the Queensland Government. This meant more radical changes for the organisation, and forced QuAC to look hard at how it continues to work with the community most affected by HIV – gay men. In 2013, QuAC (then QAHC) members voted overwhelmingly to return to their former name of the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC), in a bid to align with its broader national network, refocus the organisation, and salute its past. The HIV epidemic in Queensland is changing, so how QuAC talked about itself is critical to ensuring it remained focussed on this health issue and that everyone understands who it was and what it did.
There is much sadness attached to the history of QuAC. Many young and promising lives, as well as older and wiser lives were lost to the HIV-AIDS epidemic. Many other lives continue to be affected by the epidemic and those who they lost.
There is also a great deal of courage and pride that is attached to QuAC’s history. The strength that has been shown by People Living With HIV-AIDS in this state has been - and continues to be - incredible. Very different sections of the LGBTI community came together to provide support and assistance to those who required it. Moreover, the LGBTI community made it a priority to educate and inform others about the epidemic. There were also heterosexual allies who assisted.
There are many truly heroic stories from QuAC’s past. QAHC’s history also provides much reason for optimism. The organisation has shifted and evolved over time in tandem with the LGBTI community. Its focus now incorporates new areas of LGBT health – along with the traditional emphasis on HIV prevention and education.
Over the past thirty years, much has changed in Queensland. One thing, however, has not. The organisation that is now QuAC has helped to support many, to create and inspire others and to play a leading role in the LGBTI community. The future looks bright!
Movie [YouTube] >
For our 25th anniversary, QuAC (formerly QAHC) produced this booklet.
The QuAC LGBT History Action Group has also produced digital stories which tell some of the stories of a variety of LGBT people. http://www.quac.org.au/digitalstories
Be a part of our history!
You can connect with our History Action Group on Face Book, or by calling 07 3017 1777