Vale Adjunct Associate Professor Levinia Crooks, AM

It is with great sadness that the Board of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) announces the passing of Adjunct Associate Professor Levinia Crooks, AM on 16 October 2017 after a long and courageously fought illness. Levinia was 56 and is survived by her mother, Judy.

Levinia’s contribution to the work of ASHM has been untiring, far-reaching, extraordinary and exemplary. She was Chief Executive Officer from November 1999 to September 2017 and has been a leading advocate in the Australasian and international BBV and STI field.

Levinia served for over 30 years as a champion for people’s rights in the health sector. She began in the 1980s supporting her friends and colleagues impacted by HIV/AIDS, conducting social research to inform the development of counselling and support services for people living with HIV. She also served as President of the AIDS Council of NSW and Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, as well as on the Board of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.

She applied her considerable experience and skills to push for dramatic changes in the viral hepatitis response and greater attention to sexual health needs. Her drive and focus on the needs of the workforce in HIV, viral hepatitis and sexual health pioneered ASHM as a provider of high quality resources and training. In this capacity she has written a wide range of educational resources and provided robust advocacy for many initiatives that resulted in increased access to HIV and viral hepatitis treatments.

In 2008 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to HIV policy, her care for people with HIV and her contribution to health generally. In 2015 she was further honoured with the ACON President’s Award in recognition of a lifetime dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people affected by HIV and AIDS.

Levinia leaves us all a major and extensive legacy to carry forward and build upon, with countless lives in our region positively impacted by her energetic, pragmatic, visionary, brave and can-do approach. Moreover she will be remembered as a warm and generous friend to so many ready to roll her sleeves up, get on with the work at hand and bringing her formidable intelligence, wit and problem solving abilities to the table.

A celebration and appreciation will be held at the Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference in Canberra (6-8th November 2017). Additionally, an event in Sydney will be arranged to further commemorate Levinia.