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The Power of Food

HIVE Shelves displaying canned goodsNutrition is absolutely essential in managing health.  Many people with HIV have trouble maintaining weight, which compounds health problems associated with the illness.

Treatment Adherence is crucial for the management of HIV and any lapses in treatment may lead to resistance and limitations to treatment options.  Many medications can only be taken with food and providing food to people on low incomes means they are less likely to be forced to choose between eating and staying on treatments. 

Breaking down isolation has been one of the unexpected outcomes from the HIVE.  At times it is a real ‘social hub’ with many clients and volunteers reporting how much they enjoy the social contact they experience at the HIVE.

Building community has certainly been an additional benefit provided by the HIVE.  It is a project the entire Positive Life SA community feels proud of with many members being actively involved as volunteers.


The HIVE officially opened on the 8th February 2003 at the Positive Living Centre in Glandore.  The Red Ribbon Fund (RRF), the AIDS Council of South Australia (ACSA), and People Living With HIV/AIDS (South Australia) (PLWHA (SA)), joined forces to bring this fantastic idea to life.

For many people, living with HIV/AIDS means being unable to hold down permanent employment, relying on government support such as the disability pension and living under pressure to meet the costs of medication and basic human needs like housing and food.  The RRF, which raises money to assist those living with HIV and struggling financially, was unable to keep up with the ever increasing demand for supermarket vouchers from a growing number of people unable to make ends meet. The HIVE allows people to seek assistance in a manner that preserves their dignity and empowers them to take control of their lives.

With the advent of Foodbank SA it became possible to look at an alternative way to assist this group and to ease the burgeoning demand on RRBGF.  Initial funding was sought and received in the form of a start up grant of $10,000 from Community Benefits SA.  The grant provided fridges, freezers, shelving and the initial stock required to get the program started.

Budget/DemandAn example of 100 pts worth of goods

Since the inception of the HIVE project Positive Life SA has taken full control of the program and contributes staff, volunteers, shop space and finances from fundraising for the purchase of stock.  Except for the in-kind support provided by Positive Life SA, the HIVE receives no financial assistance from our major funding body and relies solely on monies raised throughout the year.
In 2003, the HIVE was averaging a client base of 20 - 30 people per month.  It was operating from a very small room, affectionately known as the ‘broom closet’, and was only open a couple of days a week.  Over the last eight years we have seen a marked increase in the number of people requiring assistance, with requests for food rising to an average of 90 - 100 clients per month.  In this time the number of clients regularly accessing this important service has more than tripled, while the HIVE still operates on basically the same budget.

It is anticipated that usage of the HIVE will continue to rise.  The rate of HIV infections is rising in South Australia, the cost of living is rising at a far greater rate than that of Government allowances and changes to the availability of HIV medications at the start of 2008 meant the cost for those on Antiretroviral treatments has effectively tripled in the last three years. 


PLWHA (SA) President and Vice-President accept a $10,000 cheque from Australian Executer TrusteesDespite a lack of increase in funds we have made some improvements.  The HIVE has moved to a larger room and is now open 4 days a week.  The range of stock has improved and we have added to the value of the project by increasing the focus on healthy foods and introducing the “Family Plan”.  These initiatives allow us to provide broader assistance to those who need it the most. 

In 2005 we were part of the “Closer Than You Think” campaign which was launched by the South Australian Council of Social Services (SACOSS).  As part of this campaign they launched the Blueprint for the Eradication of Poverty in South Australia and the HIVE was selected to feature in a documentary made with the assistance of the South Australian Film Corporation.

The HIVE has also been the focus for some of our UniSA Occupational Therapy Students who have worked with us in the past.  They have produced resources and introduced other nutritional ideas by using the HIVE as a means to gather and disseminate information.

In 2007 the HIVE won a “Community Service” award at the annual GALAS, sponsored by Blaze Media, for the best community project.  We are very proud of the HIVE and the incredible assistance it provides to those living with HIV.

In October 2008 the HIVE managed to secure funding of $10,000 from Australian Executor Trustees, who continue to support the project. In total Australian Executor Trustees have contributed $21,000 in funding to help keep this project alive.

Other organisations that have also contrbuted significant funds to the HIVE include Community Business Bureau, who have provided funding for the HIVE through their Community Development Grants and the AIDS Trust of Australia.

Accessing The HIVE

Opening Hours

Sunday closed
Monday closed
Tuesday closed
Wednesday 10am-3pm
Thursday 10am-3pm
Friday 10am-3pm
Saturday closed


The HIVE is available for all HIV positive South Australians, on a low income and registered with Positive Life SA.

HIVE Points

All products in the HIVE are assigned a value of points between 1 and 12 based loosely on how much you would expect to pay for the item in a shop (with 1 point equating to around 50c).

Clients are able to access 100 points per month. If clients have reached their monthly allowable total they may access extra emergency points of up to 100 points per financial year. As little as 1 and as many as 100 bonus points may be used in one transaction and these points may be used over several 'shops'.

Families with dependent children may be assigned additional points. 50 additional points per child may be assigned. Family Bonus Points can only be assigned by a Health Promotion Officer or the Executive Officer and are reviewed annually.

p: 0410 707 923
a: co/ SIN 220 South Road, Mile End
m: PO Box 117, Black Forest SA 5035
Corporate Sponsors MAC Austrlaian Executor Trustees MSD Gilead Colgate-Parmolive