The FREE rapid HIV testing and STI screening pop up service is back for the 2016 Broken Heel Festival in Broken Hill, which kicks off Friday 9 September and goes through to Sunday 11 September with an exciting programme of events.
Ann Ryan, Manager of HIV & Related Programs for Far West Local Health District, said that providing a pop up service sought to make testing more accessible and less threatening with peer educators testing and answering sexual health questions.
Ms Ryan said that about 10 per cent of HIV infections in NSW are undiagnosed.
“Knowing your HIV status is important as it means you can take control of your health. Today HIV is a chronic manageable condition, there is a huge amount of support and treatments are effective,” she said.
Acting ACON CEO Karen Price said that testing has never been easier.
“The Broken Heel Festival provides an opportunity for us to connect with the local community and for festival goers to get a fast, free and confidential test in a community setting,” Ms Price said.
“ACON, NSW’s leading HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health organization, was established over 30 years ago to respond to the emerging HIV epidemic in NSW. Our priorities are about the health and wellbeing of our communities right across NSW – that’s why we are proud to be involved in Broken Heel.
“Offering services to community in non-clinical settings is all about making sexual health testing more accessible.”
As well as the pop up site, ACON will be delivering Broken Hill’s first LGBTI inclusion workshop for local services on Thursday 8 September as well as hosting a special This Is Oz photo booth, distributing hundreds of safe sex packs and providing resources and information at the Festival in partnership with the Local Health District team.
Esther La Rovere, Festival Director said: “Partnering with ACON and the Far West Local Health District at Broken Heel is about reducing HIV and STI stigma, normalising testing and celebrating those who live large and fabulous in the outback.
“The Silver City is excited to welcome the diversity of Festival goers,” she said.
The pop up service will operate from 6:30pm on Friday 9 September at the Broken Heel Frock on Frock Off Party. The bus will also open from 2- 4pm on Saturday 10 September where anyone (18+) can grab a test from a Crystal Lane entrance.
This initiative is a partnership between ACON, Far West Local Health District, NSW Ministry of Health and the NSW State Reference Lab for HIV.
For more information, visit:
ACON’s Ending HIV website – www.endinghiv.com.au/nsw
Broken Heel Festival website – www.bhfestival.com
* LGBTI – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex