SHILOH HIV /AIDS EDUCATION SERVICE was founded by Helen and Kerry Ryan. They have dedicated their lives to educating Australian senior secondary school students about HIV/AIDS. Neil McGuire and Josephine Barletta complete the SHILOH TEAM.
To date Shiloh has educated over 230,000 Australians and spoken in approx 130 schools in Sydney and Brisbane. Our education campaign is constantly expanding.
We receive no government funding nor do we receive funding from the Aids Trust. We rely on donations and school fundraisers to continue our work. Our dream is to educate students in every state but lack of funds makes this difficult.
Our message to the teachers and students is to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and not to rely on anyone else to do this. We cover the methods of transmission of HIV/AIDS the bodily fluids involved and answer questions. We also ask people to be tested if they think they may have engaged in an unsafe experience. We are amazed at the lack of knowledge teachers and students have about HIV/AIDS. Our education campaign also gives us the opportunity to invite teachers and students to be part of our campaign by educating their families and friends. Last but not least we ask people to have a compassionate response to all those affected by HIV/AIDS.
We are concerned that the majority of people we educate are worried about HIV/AIDS in foreign countries but very complacent about the situation in Australia.
Helen was a volunteer with Ankali in the early nineties and also an office manager for a funeral home in Sydney before helping Kerry set up a organisation called Shiloh in the mid nineties. Kerry has a long history of working with those affected by HIV/AIDS in Sydney and Brisbane. It is the experience and knowledge we have gained over the last 16 years that has enabled us to do this work. Shiloh was originally a place of listening for all those affected by or involved with HIV/AIDS in Brisbane. In the late nineties we saw a need to educate the heterosexual community about HIV/AIDS and spoke in Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Church parishes. We have spoken in 115 parishes in the past but now work full time in schools. In 2002 after educating in Brisbane since 1998 we contacted parishes and schools in Sydney.We visit Sydney and Brisbane schools on a regular basis each year.
It has been by networking with schools and building up a good reputation for HIV/AIDS education for over ten years that we are regularly invited into so many schools.
'EDUCATION IS THE MAJOR WEAPON WE HAVE TO COMBAT HIV/AIDS'