NSW’s leading organisation for community health, inclusion and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders, ACON, is launching a new peer-led rapid HIV and STI testing service to provide trans and gender diverse (TGD) people easier access to sexual health screenings, resources and information.
The trans[TEST] clinic will operate at Clinic 180 in Kings Cross on the first and third Friday of each month from 11.30am to 5pm. TGD peers, working in conjunction with nurses and doctors, will see clients and support them through the trans[TEST] experience.
The clinic is delivered in partnership with the Kirketon Road Centre (KRC) and builds on the success of ACON’s existing community-based HIV testing and sexual health service, a[TEST].
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said providing tailored and peer-led services is vital in ongoing efforts to reduce HIV transmissions in NSW in all impacted communities, as well as supporting the overall health and wellbeing of TGD people.
“We know that compared to the general population, TGD people are confronted with obstacles when accessing basic healthcare,” Parkhill said. “There are various reasons why TGD people may not feel comfortable in sexual health facilities and other health environments such as concerns over being misgendered or being treated disrespectfully. To be able to be yourself, however you identify or affirm your gender, in healthcare settings is imperative.
“We hope by offering this clinic, TGD people can ask questions and have a good conversation about their sexual health and other issues impacting on their wellbeing.”
ACON’s Manager of TGD Health Equity, Teddy Cook said: “With our partner KRC, we have created a space with the community that we hope will reduce the barriers TGD people experience accessing health and wellbeing services, and to ensure the dignity, care and autonomy we deserve.
“Inspired by our a[TEST] facilities, which have become some of the most popular HIV and sexual health testing services in NSW for gay and bisexual men (cis and trans), along with the experience we have gained through this community engagement and peer-led model, we are extremely proud to now offer a dedicated service for TGD members of our communities.
“The clinic will be staffed by TGD peers in an inclusive and non-judgmental community-based settings. We see lots of return visitors at our a[TEST] clinics, so we know that members of our communities feel safe and welcomed when they are respected and supported by peers.”
In introducing the clinic, KRC Director Phill Read said: “We are proud to partner with ACON to run this clinic specifically to provide comprehensive HIV and sexual health services for members of the TGD community. This innovative partnership will deliver high quality health services in a community-based setting.”
“Our new trans[TEST] clinic will be offering free*, confidential sexual health screening services for TGD people, as we know everybody needs access to appropriate and specialist services to make sure they are getting the best healthcare.”
ACON’s Parkhill added: “Testing is key to reducing HIV transmission in NSW because if people don’t know their HIV status, they can’t improve their health or take action to prevent potential transmissions. It’s also important that TGD communities have a dedicated, inclusive service that can address other health concerns so that everyone in our communities can benefit from the gains we are making in other areas of LGBTQ health.”
“We encourage all TGD people book a test or drop into our trans[TEST] site – it’s never been easier to get tested and take control of your health.”
The trans[TEST] clinic: every first and third Friday of each month, from 11.30am – 5pm, 180 Victoria St, Potts Point. Book and more information at: transtest.org.au
* Services at trans[TEST] are free including HIV/STI testing, cervical screening, vaccinations for Hep A and Hep B, treatment of STIs and PEP, and meeting with a nurse or doctor to discuss a range of issues. Some medications (e.g. PrEP or Hep C treatment) may require you to make a co-payment at the pharmacy.