ICASO board member, and Global advocate for human rights, HIV and gay rights, Don Baxter, is honoured by Australia.
A pioneer of Australia’s HIV response, an activist for gay rights, and campaigner in the global fight against HIV and AIDS is how many know Don Baxter. For many of us, he is our friend and colleague, a farsighted leader, and someone who has helped guide our organizations for many years. Today, we celebrate with Don his investiture into the Order of Australia, which recognizes his achievements and service to his fellow citizens.
“Don had the courage and foresight to tackle the virus in a way that depoliticized it,” said Mary Ann Torres, Executive Director of ICASO. “He has always understood that HIV can only ever be addressed in a non-partisan way – a critical step in combating the stigma and discrimination, which is still associated with the disease. His grasp of the fundamental aspects of the HIV epidemic and necessary responses go hand in hand with his passion for human rights and commitment to those most affected by the virus.”
Apart from serving on ICASO’s Board of Directors, Don has held multiple leadership positions in the response to HIV – both elected and appointed. Acknowledging Don’s work as the Co-Chair of the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) of which he was a founding member, the organization’s Executive Director, George Ayala said: “Don is an unwavering advocate of the highest caliber. He is both a statesmen and strategist who has stewarded the MSMGF from its inception to the movement building coalition that it has become. Don’s actions are laser-focused, intellectual, measured and disciplined. His work is underscored by his profound love for community, which is an increasingly rare quality in the HIV sector. We are immensely grateful to have Don in our leadership ranks.”
Don is currently a member of the Australian Government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, Sexual Health and STIs. He also serves, as a board member and Program Special Advisor for the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organisations (APCASO) among other appointments.