In memory of Geoff Honnor, an advocate for people living with HIV

News | Published on 24 Jun 2020

The Kirby Institute mourns the loss of Geoff Honnor, who passed away on Monday night.

Geoff was a passionate advocate for people living with HIV for over two decades. It was his life’s work. Geoff was a man of action, and worked tirelessly to break stigma around HIV, and dramatically improve prevention, testing and treatment rates, especially in NSW, through taking on a number of leadership roles with organisations and institutions acting for and with his community

Most recently, Geoff held the role of Director, HIV and Sexual Health at ACON, and made immense contributions to the health of our communities, most notably with the establishment of the Ending HIV initiative. The Ending HIV program had the ambitious aim of ending HIV transmissions by 2020 through educating, informing and supporting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men on prevention and testing for HIV. The campaign has been widely successful, and has had an enormous impact on the reductions we have seen in HIV transmission in NSW. Geoff also held the role of CEO of Positive Life NSW, from 2004-2008, and during that time also served on the board of ACON. He was also formerly a senior analyst and assistant manager of HIV and STIs at NSW Health.

He was both a collaborator and friend of the Kirby Institute over many years. He served on a number of committees and reference groups for Kirby Institute research, helping to lay the groundwork for impactful studies including PASH (Pleasure and Sexual Health) and the Seroconversion Study. Geoff was incredibly generous with his insights in tribute to the late Professor David Cooper when he spoke at the David Cooper Symposium in 2018.

“I think Geoff taught me more about the importance of the community response to HIV than anyone else I’ve ever worked with,” says Professor Andrew Grulich, who led many of the projects Geoff collaborated on, and considered him a friend. “From turning up to high-powered committees dressed unabashedly as a sex-positive gay man, to his endless theorising about how we could do better with bringing community and research together. From his early years in San Francisco through to Sydney in 2020, what an amazing life of contribution to his community. I’ll miss him.”

We as a community are enriched for having learned from and walked alongside Geoff Honnor. We extend our condolences to Geoff’s long-term partner, Lance Feeney, along with his family, friends and colleagues. He left an indelible mark on us all, and he will be remembered for standing up for and improving the lives of his community.

Vale Geoff Honnor.