The Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) is an independent community organization funded by government grants, community fundraising, donations and sponsorships.
The history of the Queensland AIDS Council can be traced back to November 1984. Around thirty individuals from the gay community held a meeting in a room of the Alliance Hotel, Brisbane. This meeting resulted in the birth of the Queensland AIDS Council and its creation coincided with the first AIDS Awareness week in April, 1985. In late 1986 – prior to government funding became available – the Queensland AIDS Council sought support from all church groups in Brisbane, in order to aid 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.
Since then, QuAC has continued to deliver HIV prevention programs and client services for people with HIV and critical peer support.
The years from 2005 onwards were a period of transition and revitalisation for QuAC. Changes in HIV medication, coupled with the outsourcing of healthcare 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 changed its name to 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 work of health promotion and information for gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM). In 2013, QuAC 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.
Along with extreme courage and pride, there is sadness attached to the history of QuAC. Along with the old and wise, many young and promising lives were lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The ripple effect of that is ongoing. While the HIV epidemic in Queensland is changing, complacency remains the enemy.
The strength 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 treasured heterosexual allies who assisted.
QuAC has shifted and evolved over time in tandem with the LGBTI community. Our focus now incorporates diverse areas of LGBTI health – along with HIV prevention and education.
Over the past thirty plus years, much has changed in Queensland. During that time QuAC has helped to support many in the LGBTI community and that’s where our past continues to meet our future.