Support

HIV

We’re here to help reduce HIV transmission among gay and homosexually active men and to support people living with HIV by providing a range of programs and services.

HIV Prevention

HIV Testing

Knowing your HIV status is now easy as, and it’s vital to efforts to end HIV transmission in NSW by 2020.

Benefits of Testing

Many new HIV transmissions in NSW occur because some gay men think they’re negative when they’re actually positive. That’s because it can take years before HIV symptoms are noticeable. Testing regularly so you know your HIV status allows you to protect your health and the health of your sexual partners.

If you find out you have HIV, you can then take steps to benefit your health, including talking to your doctor about treatment. There are plenty of services available to assist you with a new HIV diagnosis, including many provided by ACON.

Getting gay men to test more is vital to our goal of ending HIV transmission in NSW by 2020. You can help out by getting tested at least twice a year, or up to four times a year if you have more than 10 different partners in 6 months or have sex without condoms.

Getting Tested

Now that rapid HIV testing is available in NSW, testing for HIV is easier than ever, with results available in under 30 minutes.

You can get tested for HIV at any of ACON’s a[TEST] facilities (see below) or any medical or sexual health clinic in NSW.

There are other testing technologies that are being assessed for use in Australia, such as home-based testing kits. More information will be provided on these as they become available.

a[TEST]

testing-week-2015

ACON provides a range of FREE community-based rapid HIV and STI screening services for gay men in Sydney and in selected regional locations in NSW. To find out more or to make an appointment to get tested in Sydney, please visit www.atest.org.au.

  • Oxford St: 167 Oxford St. Darlinghurst Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm + Sat 11:30am – 2:30pm
  • Newtown: 222 King St. Mon & Tue 4:20pm – 7:20pm
  • Surry Hills: 414 Elizabeth St. Wed & Thu 3pm – 6:30pm
  • Kings Cross: 180 Victoria St. Sat, 3:30pm – 6:30pm

Workshops For Gay Men

We offer a range of FREE workshops for same sex attracted men (gay, bisexual, or curious).

Participating in a workshop is a great way to make new friends in a safe social environment and to learn more about identity, coming out, sex and sexual health, HIV, relationships, the LGBTI community and other relevant topics. There are usually between 10-14 guys in each group.

Our workshops are facilitated by trained professional volunteers and run over 2 – 6 sessions, depending on the workshop. Workshops happen at the ACON offices in central Sydney and selected regional offices.

The below workshops are for all gay men. We also run other workshops for young gay men aged 18-26.

Current Workshops

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Getting Together
Our peer facilitated workshop ‘Getting Together’ provides an opportunity to discuss our identities and values with a group of like-minded same sex attracted men. This will explore all the different types of relationships we have in life such as friendships, partners and casual encounters. As a group we learn how best to communicate within social networks, both online and offline. We also look at sexual health, substance usage and HIV within our community.
Duration: 6 sessions
Where: ACON Sydney
When: Starts Monday 2 November – every Monday night for 6 weeks until Monday 7 December
Time:  6 30pm to 9 30pm.
Sign up: groups@acon.org.au

 

Other Workshops

Arse Class
The Arse Class is a free, six week peer education workshop for gay men who want to know more about anal sex and sexual health. The topics covered in the workshop include anal health, anatomy and preparation for bottoming. It also covers anal orgasm and sexual positions and prevention of HIV and other STI’s.
Duration: 6 sessions
Where: ACON Sydney

 

Better Sex
Better sex’ is a six week workshop designed for all gay men. We will talk about how we feel about sex, how we can negotiate and access better sexual encounters and relationships. You will learn how to have more pleasurable sex in a way that enhances your overall health and wellbeing. The workshop will cover from oral and anal pleasure to other more adventurous activities. You will also hear from a well experienced panel in the final week.
Duration: 6 sessions
Where: ACON Sydney

 

Looking for Mr Right
Looking for Mr Right is a six week workshop designed for single gay men. You will learn about enhancing your communication skills, the dating do’s and don’ts, HIV, sexual health and intimacy. You’ll also hear from a panel of men who have different experiences of being in a variety of relationship types.
Where: ACON Sydney

 

Find Out More
For more information about any of our gay health workshops, please contact us: 1800 063 060 | (02) 9206 2075 | groups@acon.org.au

Workshops For Young Gay Men

We offer a range of FREE workshops for young same sex attracted men (gay, bisexual, curious) aged 18 – 26.

Participating in a workshop is a great way to make new friends in a safe social environment and to learn more about identity, coming out, sex and sexual health, HIV, relationships, the LGBTI community and other relevant topics. There are usually between 10-14 guys in each group.

Our workshops are facilitated by trained professional volunteers and run over 2 – 6 sessions, depending on the workshop. Workshops happen at the ACON offices in central Sydney and selected regional offices.

 

Current Workshops

StartMakingSense

Start Making Sense 

This  a free workshop for young gay men aged 18 to 26.

The workshop will help you understand:

  • Identity – what it means to be gay and young
  • Explore the process of coming out with a group of peers
  • Learn about the gay community, the scene and how to develop social networks
  • Explore friendships, relationships and communication skills with a group a peer
  • Learn about HIV and sexual health

Date: Every Tuesday from 14 April
Duration: 6 weeks
Time: 6 30pm to 9 30pm
Where: Parramatta Headspace, 2 Wentworth St 2150
Sign Up Here for the Workshop

 

YGM-workshop-headers-SMS-Arabic

Start Making Sense – Arabic & Middle Eastern speaking background
The Young Gay Men’s Project is offering a FREE WORKSHOP, specifically for young (18 – 30) same-sex attracted guys from an Arabic or Middle Eastern background.

The workshop is run by peer volunteers and explores identity, coming out, cultural expectations, relationships, friendships and community. If you are interested contact youth@acon.org.au

Date: Every Tuesday from 2 February
Duration: 6 weeks
Time: 6 30pm to 9 30pm
Where: ACON 414 Elizabeth Street Surry Hills
Sign Up Here for the Workshop

 

adultthemes2

Adult Themes
Explore attraction. Deepen your understanding of issues around sex, sexuality and dating. Get tips and techniques about how to have better sex, and how to safely explore the more adventurous side of sexuality. This workshop covers anal pleasure and health, sex toys and adventurous play. It explores how and where to get the kind of sex you want, sexual attitudes, values, intimacy, relationships, communication. You’ll even get to hear from a panel of guys in the know.
Date: Every Thursday from Thursday 10 March for 6 weeks
Duration: 6 weeks
Time: 6 30pm to 9 30pm
Where: ACON 414 Elizabeth Street Surry Hills
Sign Up Here for the Workshop

 

GettingItOnline

Getting It Online
Learn tips and techniques for setting up an effective gay networking profile. Make new friends while exploring popular mobile apps/websites to gain the kind of experiences you want! Discuss the advantages and challenges of using the internet for finding mates, dates and sex, and investigate our social values relating to online etiquette and sexual discrimination. We’ll also talk about how to stay safe when hooking up!
Date: Every Monday from Monday 15 February for 3 weeks
Duration: 3 weeks
Time: 6 30pm to 9 30pm
Where: ACON 414 Elizabeth Street Surry Hills
Sign Up Here for the Workshop

 

Other Workshops

Cruising 101
Ever wanted to find out more about gay saunas, but were too afraid to ask? Cruising 101 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes 2-day crash course in how to use saunas and sex clubs. Learn how to cruise, respectfully reject unwanted advances, minimise risk, maximise pleasure and stay safe in the cruising environment.
Duration: Two days
Where: Sydney and selected regional offices

Find Out More
For more info, please contact us: 1800 063 060 | (02) 9206 2076 | youth@acon.org.au

 

Free Condoms

condoms

Condom Distribution

We distribute 400,000 condoms and safe sex packs every year to a range of community venues, clinics and events, and we supply venues with ACON Toolboxes which we regularly stock with safe sex packs. To get free condoms at your community venue, event or clinic, please contact your nearest ACON office

ACON Tradies

The ACON Tradies are teams of specially trained volunteers who distribute safe sex packs and safe sex information for gay men at community events. To book the ACON Tradies for your next event, please contact your nearest ACON office.

If you would like to volunteer to become an ACON Tradie please contact our Head Tradie, Gavin email: gprendergast@acon.org.au or call 9206 2064

 

ACON Sexperts

The Sexperts are peer education volunteers who visit sex on premises venues and have discussions with the customers about sexual health, HIV and STI testing and other relevant topics.

We already have a really committed and fun group of volunteers which we are looking to add to as we expand the project to new premises.

To express interest in becoming a Sexpert contact us on: 1800 063 060 | (02) 9206 2075 |groups@acon.org.au

 

HIV Support

Newly Diagnosed With HIV

recentlydiagnosed

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with HIV, we can help connect you with peer support, workshops, counselling, treatment information and online resources.

Counselling

ACON provides free and confidential post-test counselling support for people recently diagnosed with HIV and others affected, including partners, family and friends. Support is also available for people testing for HIV.

Follow-up is provided within one working day and assistance is provided either face-to-face or by phone. This includes providing HIV-related information, linking people into peer support programs and other support services, and supporting people to discuss the needs and feelings associated with a recent diagnosis.

To find out more or to undertake a brief intake assessment, please submit an enquiry or contact your nearest ACON office.

One-On-One Peer Support

One-on-one peer support connects HIV positive people with each other. Peer support is for those who want to speak to someone who knows exactly what they are going through from personal experience. Peers know what it is like to receive a new diagnosis and to live as an HIV positive person.

This is not a counselling service, but one-on-one support with an experienced peer.

To find our more or to speak with a peer, please contact your nearest ACON office.

 

Genesis Workshops

Genesis

Genesis is a weekend workshop for gay men who have been diagnosed with HIV within the last two years.

It’s a peer-based workshop which means it’s run by other gay men with HIV who can relate to the experience of a new diagnosis.

Genesis aims to provide participants with practical help and knowledge to manage their HIV diagnosis, gain confidence, build resilience and make informed decisions around the various issues that may confront them after a HIV diagnosis.

Genesis also provides participants with an opportunity to meet other guys in the same situation in a safe, confidential and supportive environment.

Genesis gives participants the opportunity to:

  • Explore HIV and its impact on your life
  • Understand how HIV and your immune system work
  • Get an overview of current and future treatments
  • Understand HIV and its impact on your health, sex life and relationships
  • Work out who to tell about your status and when to tell them
  • Take charge of your own health

Genesis is collaboration between ACON and Positive Life NSW.

2015-2016 Genesis Workshops

  • Feb 5-7
  • April 15-17
  • June 24-26

Where: ACON Sydney – 414 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills 2010
When: Five times a year
Duration: One weekend

For more information please contact our Sydney office 02 9206 2025 or email: hivliving@acon.org.au

 

One-On-One Peer Support

CSN volunteer

One-on-one peer support connects HIV positive people with each other. Peer support is for those who want to speak to someone who knows exactly what they are going through from personal experience. Peers know what it is like to receive a new diagnosis and to live as an HIV positive person.

This is not a counselling service, but one-on-one support with an experienced peer.

For more information or to speak with a peer, please contact your nearest ACON office

 

Counselling

counselling

We provide FREE and confidential short term counselling (up to 12 sessions) for:

  • People with HIV
  • People at risk of HIV
  • People affected by HIV (e.g. partners, family and friends)
  • People testing for HIV

We prioritise:

  • People newly diagnosed with HIV
  • Financially disadvantaged people
  • People experiencing health or relationship needs related to HIV
  • People experiencing the effects of a recent trauma, domestic/family violence or homophobic/transphobic violence

Counsellors use a solutions focused model drawing on a range of approaches to best meet the needs of individuals and couples.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake an intake assessment, please contact your nearest ACON office or to enquire about making an appointment click here.

 

Care Coordination

care coordination

Our Care Coordinators are allied health professionals who can help clients with multiple and/or complex needs to:

  • Access relevant healthcare and support services
  • Increase their ability to manage their care and treatment
  • Reduce social isolation

Needs may include:

  • HIV
  • Mental health
  • Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Housing
  • Family/domestic violence
  • Finances
  • Legal

Care coordinators work with clients over 3 months to develop a care plan and provide support to help clients achieve their goals and meet their needs

This service is FREE and confidential.

Priority is given to people with HIV, and people at risk or affected by HIV

Our Care Coordinators work in Sydney at our office in Surry Hills as well as the Taylor Square Private Clinic and Holdsworth House Medical Practice in Darlinghurst.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake a brief intake assessment, please contact our Sydney office 02 9206 2000 to enquire about making an appointment click here.

 

Home-Based Care

peertopeer

Through our Community Support Network (CSN), our team of trained volunteers provide practical assistance to help people with HIV live as independently as possible in their own homes. Services include:

  • Basic cleaning
  • Grocery shopping
  • Doing the laundry
  • Meal preparation
  • Light gardening
  • Transport to and from medical appointments
  • To be eligible for home-based care, clients need a diagnosis of physical or cognitive impairment as a result of, or in the presence of, HIV infection resulting in impaired capacity for independent living.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment. One of our CSN Care Liaison Officers will arrange to meet with you, usually at your home, to explain how CSN can help and decide what services are needed.

For more information or to undertake an assessment, please contact your nearest ACON office or to enquire about making an appointment click here.

 

HIV Health Retreats

Ngalawi_Djardi_retreat

We run two FREE health retreats every year for people with HIV – one for gay men living in regional and rural NSW and one for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Ngalawi Djardi Health Retreat For Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander People Living With HIV

This annual health retreat aims to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with HIV by providing:

  • Culturally appropriate respite and relaxation
  • An opportunity to connect and share stories with other HIV positive people
  • Opportunities to share culture, art and good yarns
  • Access to professional workers, treatments and other support services

The name, Ngalawi Djardi means ‘sit and yarn’ in Dharug language. The retreat is facilitated by Aboriginal workers, with non-Indigenous guest presenters and counsellors. Sessions are voluntary so you can participate in as little or as many sessions as you wish.

The retreat is particularly valuable for those living in rural and regional areas of NSW who may not have regular access to HIV support services in their area.

All aspects of the retreat are conducted in the strictest confidentiality and the privacy of all participants is respected.

Each participant is welcome to bring a support person (partner, friend or family member). The support person need not be Aboriginal or living with HIV.

Our retreats are held in motel-style accommodation in a peaceful location just outside Sydney. All transport from ACON, accommodation and meals are provided. People who need assistance with transport to Sydney are encouraged to talk to us as soon as possible so that we can assist you to seek travel assistance.

For more information or to get involved, please contact us at email: Aboriginal@acon.org.au or call | 1800 063 060 | (02) 9206 2042

 

Meal Service

meal_service

ACON offers a FREE lunch service every Friday for people who are living with HIV.

The meal service offers a friendly space where people can catch up and have a bite to eat while connecting with staff for referrals and/or advice for any questions relating to HIV.

Anyone arriving to the service for the first time should speak to a staff member about signing up for the service.

Where: ACON Café, 414 Elizabeth St, Surry Hill, Sydney
When: Friday: 12pm – 1:30pm

 

Vitamin Service

vitamin_service

Our Vitamin Service is a non-profit program that aims to provide high quality practitioner vitamins and nutritional supplements at the lowest possible price to people with HIV/AIDS, other ACON clients and staff. Clients and staff of our partner organisations (Positive Life, HALC, NUAA, Hepatitis NSW, BGF, etc) are also able to access the service.

Our product list is based on advice from dietitians, HIV/AIDS practitioners and naturopaths. We also take into consideration our community’s input/suggestions.

The service is governed by the Therapeutic Goods Act (1989), which oversees the packaging, sale and advertising of all therapeutic substances. The Vitamin Service works on a script basis because of the Act.

Accessing Our Vitamin Service

To us our Vitamin Service, you will need an ACON Vitamin Script form signed by your dietitian, GP or complementary therapist, indicating which vitamins/supplements suit your needs.

Many practitioners have ACON Vitamin Service scripts in their consulting rooms. These forms are also available at ACON’s reception, or we can post or email you a copy. Alternatively you can download a form. The script expires after six (6) months and is confidentially stored at the service using a non-identifying client code.

As outlined by the Therapeutic Goods Act, we are unable to give advice or recommend the use of any particular product. This is the role of your dietitian, GP or therapist.