On World AIDS Day a new investment in the power of peers.

The W3 Project is really excited to be working with Living Positive Victoria on their new expanded Peer Navigator project.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy made the announcement at the launch of World AIDS Day held at the Doherty Institute on Friday morning. The pilot project will run for 3 years (2018-20) and be led by Living Positive Victoria.

Interim CEO of Living Positive Victoria, Suzy Malhotra, said that harnessing the lived experience of people living with HIV (PLHIV) is significant and should be at the forefront of the HIV response.

Christabel Millar, President of Living Positive Victoria, agrees that this pilot project will make a difference for people at a crucial time in their HIV journey.

“Each person is different but the shared similarities of PLHIV allows individuals to connect on a unique and intimate level that cannot be replicated through other support services,” said Millar.

Graham Brown from the W3 Project added

There is great opportunity for this project to not only provide timely support to people with HIV at key points in their journey, but also gain real time insights into the barriers and enablers for PLHIV. This will be crucial as we strive to end stigma and create a more effective response to HIV. This has great potential to help the whole HIV response reorient and adapt.

W3 Project will be supporting Living Positive Victoria to monitor and enhance the effectiveness of the program to contribute to engagement with PLHIV, alignment across the sector, adapt to evolving experiences of PLHIV, and have stronger influence in the PLHIV community and in policy.

For the full press release from Living Positive Victoria click here



W3 Framework for Living Positive Victoria Annual Report

Guest Blog by Randelle Anderson, Senior Communications Officer at Living Positive Victoria


Adopting the W3 framework for Living Positive Victoria’s annual report went beyond highlighting the organisation’s activities over the last financial year. The framework helped to show the effectiveness of each activity, event, workshop and relationship, and how that impacted the organisation’s vision to better the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV (PLHIV).

The report’s themes were adapted from the W3 framework to give the annual report a strong narrative that was broken into four sections. This bridged the operational and business work of the organisation and made the report more engaging for readers and more appealing to a broader audience.

 W3 Themes Living Positive Victoria’s Annual Report Themes
Engagement Connecting and Engagement
Learning and Adaptation Learning and Adapting
Alignment Stronger Together
 Influence (Community) Strengthening the Community

Each theme was defined at the start of each section which made the information much easier to follow and understand.

Connecting and Engagement – Relational living – feeling connected to your community – is vital for people living with HIV (PLHIV). Each individual has their own background, journey and story that we get to be a part of.

Learning and Adapting – Life never stops teaching. By continuously learning we are able to do things we were never able to do and find ways to address the evolving nature of HIV.

Strengthening the Community – The voice of people living with HIV (PLHIV) must be at the forefront of the HIV response. We continue to invest in our community to build up the resilience of PLHIV and position them as champions, role models and leaders.

Stronger Together – Real transformation will only happen when we embrace diversity, embrace our differences and contend for the same thing: the rights and wellbeing of people living with HIV (PLHIV).

The content was organised based on how it demonstrated the idea/concept for each theme. We looked at the impact and result of each activity and used facts, figures and testimonials to strengthen the information.

Weaved through the entire report was the relationships the organisation has with its stakeholders. The W3 framework helped the report focus on the diversity of those relationships and how those relationships continue to evolve and bring about real change in the HIV response.

As a public document, the annual report is accessible by all stakeholders to review which keeps the feedback loop open and the organisation can use any feedback to adapt the report in the future.

Developing and trialling of tools for peer led programs

Our work with Living Positive Victoria and Harm Reduction Victoria has been progressing with a range of tools and approaches being trialled to enhance the evaluation of Engagement, Alignment, Adaptation, and Influence (W3 Framework functions) as well as Peer Skill.

Below are just four examples from across the work we are doing

Our collaboration with Harm Reduction Victoria includes their Peer Networker Program (PnP). The PnP recruits, trains and supports ‘peer networkers’ to distribute needles and syringes to their friends and associates as well as providing education about safer drug use and ‘modelling’ safer injecting practices.


  • To enhance our understanding of engagement through the PnP, we have been revising the data sheets and analysing the geographic and gender diversity of who the program reaches compared to other needle and syringe programs.

Influence – Policy

  • To strengthen the voice of people who use drugs and enhance the advice to the rest of the sector, we have been trialling the collection of current peer insights and feedback from the different networks in the PnP.


Our collaboration with Living Positive Victoria includes their Phoenix Workshop for people newly diagnosed with HIV:

Adaptation and Peer Skill

  • The Phoenix workshops result in rich peer discussion and problem solving. After the workshop – the peer facilitator’s debrief is a key moment with reflexive discussions– particularly about emerging issues and the quality of the peer experience occurring in the workshop. However, these insights were not being well captured for sharing within or beyond the program. Therefore we have been developing a brief facilitator feedback tool that can tap into and capture the expertise and experience of peer facilitators while minimising number of process feedback questions for participants.

Influence – Community

  • To enhance our understanding of the impact of peer led programs for PLHIV, we have collaborated with a range of PLHIV peer organisations (including Living Positive Victoria) and ViiV Healthcare to develop, trial and validate the PozQoL scale. See the separate post on PozQoL or download the summary here


We are also working with both organisations to develop clearer overall indicators for the peer led programs drawing on the W3 Framework.

In coming months we will be uploading the developed tools and approaches. For more information in the interim, contact graham.brown@latrobe.edu.au

The Power of Peers – Stage 2 of the W3 Project under way

ARCSHS, Living Positive Victoria and Harm Reduction Victoria have signed a new 3 year collaboration agreement as part of the What Works and Why (W3) project.


Signing of the W3 Project Collaboration Agreement between ARCSHS, Harm Reduction Victoria and Living Positive Victoria

Back row – Graham Brown (ARCSHS), Steph Tzanetis (Harm Reduction Victoria), Brent Allan (Living Positive Victoria), Front Row – Charles Henderson (Harm Reduction Victoria) and Tim Krulic (Living Positive Victoria


The What Works and Why (W3) project has been a ground breaking study to investigate the role of peer-led programs and their influence in their community, policy and sector systems. In stage 1 (2013-2016) the project worked with 10 community and peer-led organisations to develop a new quality and evaluation framework for peer-led programs.

In stage 2 (2016-2019) the W3 project is working with Harm Reduction Victoria (and Living Positive Victoria to apply the framework at an organisational level. This will include the development of practical tools and approaches to evaluate and improve the impact and quality of programs as well as share real-time knowledge with the broader sector and policy response.


“What I’m passionate about is ensuing that affected communities are enabled and equipped to articulate their voices and lead the HIV response. Living Positive Victoria is investing in W3 because building our community research capacity is something that will drive the kind of systemic changes that will make this happen in Australia”said Brent Allan, Living Positive Victoria


“The role of peer-led programs in our community, right here right now, is critical if we are to build trust and enhance access to the new treatments and cure for hepatitis C. Collaborating with the W3 project will support us in strengthening the PWID (People Who Inject Drugs) peer voice and demonstrate that peer engagement is fundamental to achieving successful BBV (Blood Borne Virus) outcomes ” said Charles Henderson, Harm Reduction Victoria


“We know that peer-led programs and leadership are the key to maximising community engagement with the HIV response. That’s why we’re collaborating with the W3 Project. To enhance the work we do, to challenge stigma, to enhance engagement with treatment options, and to make the most of the opportunities that working in HIV at such a critical time present” Timothy Krulic, Living Positive Victoria

This is an exciting time for the W3 Project as we translate what we have developed into on the ground tools and strategies that enhance the evidence base for peer led programs but are also sustainable within community organisations.

The W3 Project is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Peers, Drugs and Politics: Role of peer insights in harm reduction

W3 at the SiREN Symposium

W3 presented at the 2016 SiREN symposium – a showcase of innovations in research and responses to sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses in WA.  You can watch the W3 presentation here:

Peers, Drugs and Politics: Role of peer insights in harm reduction programs and policies for people who use drugs

W3 Stage 1 reports released

The W3 Project took on the challenge to build a deeper understanding of the role peer led programs and their leadership in the response to HIV and hepatitis C. As we move into Stage 2, we have updated the W3 Project blogsite and created two new sections

W3 Project – Stage 1 (2014-2016) which includes:

W3 Stage 1 Reports: providing an overview of the project and the W3 Framework, feasibility trials of the indicators and tools,  detailed methods, and copies of selected tools.

System Diagrams: the detailed descriptions of the system logic diagram and draft indicators developed with the W3 Project partners.

W3 Project – Stage 2 (2016-2019) where we will provide updates as they emerge of the new work with our collaborating partners.


We have also added a section to more clearly house the earlier research work which led to the W3 Project

Thank you again to everyone who has played a role in the project in Stage 1 and we look forward to Stage 2 as we continue to strengthen the role of our peer led programs and leadership

Sex, Drugs and Politics at PowerToPersuade

W3 Project presented at The Power to Persuade 2016 Symposium, and were invited to write an accompanying blog on the role of peer programs and leadership in the HIV and hepatitis C response

Sex, Drugs and Politics: Enhancing peer-led health promotion’s influence in community and policy systems