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International News

Melbourne: Tenants Run Hate Gauntlet

March 28, 2003

People with HIV/AIDS suffer widespread harassment and abuse in Melbourne, Australia's public housing estates, a new report reveals. Almost a quarter of 118 people surveyed have sought transfers because of verbal and physical threats, assault or discrimination by fellow tenants. Welfare groups, including the AIDS Housing Action Group, the Victorian AIDS Council and People Living with HIV/AIDS, have united to combat the problem and lobby the state government for help. The groups recently commissioned the research after a series of anecdotal reports from people who said they had been assaulted or abused.

Of the 118 people surveyed, 54 had requested priority transfers, including 31 on the grounds they had been harassed or discriminated against.

"What the research hasn't shown is whether people with HIV and AIDS have suffered more than any other minority groups," said Brian Price, AHAG president. "We want to look at the issue further, and a broad range of AIDS agencies will be involved in looking at the issues. Then we will present the findings to the Department of Human Services," he said.

AHAG Coordinator Mark Riley said some patients needed to be close to major hospitals for regular treatment and many were on low incomes, which made public housing estates their best option for a home. But the report found the estates were stressful and highly charged environments for many tenants. "One of the more serious cases involved a person who was physically attacked by a group and suffered an attempted break-in to his place," Riley said.

Office of Housing spokesperson Brendan Ryan said the department did not have any evidence of specific discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS. "But the Office of Housing won't tolerate any discrimination, and if anyone has problems, they should contact their local housing office," Ryan said.

Back to other CDC news for March 28, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Melbourne/Yarra Leader
03.24.03; Rachel Kleinman

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More News on HIV/AIDS in Australia