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HIV+ groups benefit from “Queen of Whole Universe"

PRESS RELEASE: February 14, 2008

HIV positive groups benefit from “Queen of the Whole Universe” funds

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation says it is delighted to announce the distribution of $18,000 worth of funds raised in 2007’s “Queen of the Whole Universe” pageant to HIV positive peer support groups.

Body Positive Inc is to receive $9,000 for securing and importing “Aquamid”, a product which is used to reverse facial wasting on HIV positive people who suffer from lipoatrophy.

“Lipoatrophy can cause many of our members to feel like they are ‘wearing HIV on their face’,” says Bruce Kilmister of Body Positive. “The Aquamid project will help make Body Positive participants feel once again confident in their appearance.

One Body Positive participant said he thought the improvement in the fullness in his face was instant: “My medication has made me healthier but my face belied that improvement,” he said. “People always told me I looked tired, which was not good for my self esteem, but now I feel great.”

Positive Women Inc is to receive $9,000 for the design and printing of promotional materials, such as posters and their Annual Report, as part of a continuing campaign to raise the profile of the organisation among key stakeholders and health care providers around the country.

“Growing the organisation’s profile is very important in order to increase our chances of receiving funding, as we are the only group working specifically on behalf of women and families living with HIV and AIDS in New Zealand,” says Jane Bruning, National Co-ordinator of Positive Women. “Through increased funding we will be in a better position to offer greater and improved services to our communities.”

“Queen of the Whole Universe – A Very Queer Beauty Pageant” is an annual fundraising event held for the benefit of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.

Over 150 volunteers are involved in the making of this show, which has now raised over $100,000 for non-government funded NZAF projects and HIV positive peer support groups in the last four years. In 2007, the pageant raised just over $40,000, its largest total to date.

“Queen of the Whole Universe” will be appearing in Wellington for a special performance at Te Papa’s 10th anniversary celebrations on Saturday Feburary 16, and will return to Auckland’s Aotea Centre for a fifth year on Saturday November 15.

ENDS

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