Australia’s first outback pop up rapid HIV testing site will be part of the inaugural Broken Heel Festival in Broken Hill, the 21st anniversary celebrations of the classic Aussie film Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The festival kicks off Friday 11 September and goes through to Sunday 13 September with an exciting programme of events.
Georgiana Simpson, Acting Manager of HIV & Related Programs for Far West Local Health District, said that providing a pop up HIV testing site sought to make “testing more accessible, less threatening and practically immediate with the peer educators turning results around in half an hour.” Ms Simpson 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.
Nicolas Parkhill, ACON CEO said that there had never been a better time to get tested.
“The Broken Heel Festival provides an opportunity to connect and celebrate with outback communities and for festival goers to get a fast, free and confidential test in a community setting,“ he said.
ACON was established 30 years ago as a community response to the emerging HIV epidemic in NSW, ‘ACON’s priorities continue to be HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI* health so it is only fitting that we should celebrate our 30th anniversary with another iconic queen, Priscilla’ said Mr Parkhill.
“As well as the pop up site, we will be distributing hundreds of safe sex packs over the weekend as well as providing resources and information in partnership with the Local Health District team,” he said.
Esther La Rovere, Festival Director said that “partnering with ACON and the Local Health District at Broken Heel is about reducing HIV stigma, normalising testing and celebrating those who live large and fabulous in the outback.”
“We can’t wait to welcome diverse communities to the Silver City,” she said.
The pop up will be operate from 6pm on Saturday 12 September at the Broken Heel Festival Street Party. The van will be located on Crystal Lane, behind the Palace Hotel in Broken Hill.
This initiative is a partnership between ACON, Far West Local Health District, NSW Ministry of Health and SydPath (St Vincent’s Pathology).
Andrew Hamadanian, ACON Media & Communications Officer
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | T: (02) 9206 2044 | M: 0419 555 768
Editor’s Note: Gay and other homosexually active men are encouraged to test every six months or, if they are highly sexually active, every three months.
ACON’s Ending HIV website – www.endinghiv.com.au/nsw
Broken Heel Festival website – www.bhfestival.com
* LGBTI – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex