Policy & Research


We’re here to work with legislators, policymakers and service providers to help them understand and address the needs of LGBTI people and people with HIV.

HIV Advocacy

ACON has a long heritage in HIV advocacy from the very beginning of the epidemic, and the organisation’s inception in 1985. We undertake activities that seek to respond to the current issues in HIV policy and advocacy, as well as future challenges and opportunities.
Our work focusses on a broad range of issues as they impact on both the prevention of HIV and other STIs, as well as care and support for people living with HIV, including:

  • Areas which will have the most impact on the fight to end HIV
  • Policy goals and targets in the NSW and National HIV Strategies
  • Addressing priority areas and the clear rationale for change from an individual, community, population health and health system perspective
  • Making PrEP available to gay men who want to access to this prevention method. This will be critical to ensure access to this game changing biomedical intervention
  • Securing access to a wider variety of HIV testing services, especially HIV self – testing and rapid HIV testing.
  • Ensuring that all LGBTI people in New South Wales have access to education, testing and treatment

To find out more please contact our Policy, Strategy and Research team: policy@acon.org.au

NSW Election 2018

In the lead up to the 2018 NSW election, ACON, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Positive Life NSW and the Sex Workers Outreach Project will be surveying the major parties as well as key independents on a range of issues relevant to the LGBTI communities and people with HIV. We will share the results of the survey, and information about public forums to discuss these issues on our social media, and here on this page.

ACON ran a similar process during the 2015 State Election in NSW.

Find out how parties responded to questions on key policy issues such as HIV and blood borne viruses, LGBTI health and wellbeing, people with intersex variations, community safety and social inclusion, education, ageing, drug use and harm reduction, and sex worker health in 2015:

To find out more please contact our Policy, Strategy and Research team: policy@acon.org.au

Policy Statements

To find out more please contact our Policy, Strategy and Research team: policy@acon.org.au

HIV Submissions

ACON also regularly addresses issues related to HIV in submissions on broader LGBTI health. For more information see the section below.

We are currently developing papers on:

  • HIV and Aboriginal communities
  • The future of HIV
  • Cancer and the LGBTQI Communities

If you would like to contribute to these papers, or to find out more please contact our Policy, Strategy and Research team: policy@acon.org.au

LGBTI Health Submissions

To find out more please contact our Policy, Strategy and Research team: policy@acon.org.au

Discussion Papers

To find out more please contact our Policy, Strategy and Research team: policy@acon.org.au


We’re are here to promote and support HIV and LGBTI health related research in NSW.

ACON Ethics Committee

Research provides a significant benefit to the delivery of effective health promotion and services. ACON seeks to encourage researchers to participate in a process of peer-review regarding ethical issues to promote ethical conduct in human research in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community; among people with and affected by HIV; and among sex workers. This process helps to improve the quality of research related to these groups, which, in turn, makes the research more useful for health providers such as ACON.

The ACON Research Ethics Review Committee exists to provide advice to ACON on ethical issues relating to research and to provide ethical guidance to researchers and research participants. Research projects seeking ACON’s endorsement, or access to ACON’s support and resources, are required to attain approval from the RERC. Approval is a prerequisite for the consideration of assistance or support for the research by ACON.

Who should seek ACON ethics approval?

  • Projects that seek to use ACON or SWOP staff, mailing lists, or other material resources,
  • Projects that specifically target LGBT populations, either as their sole sample group or as an identified sub-sample,
  • Projects that specifically target people with HIV or those who provide their care and support,
  • Projects that specifically target people who work in the sex industry, and
  • Projects that concern issues relating to the health of people with HIV/AIDS, LGBT people, or sex workers.

Download: ACON Ethics Committee Application Form

Meeting Dates
Wednesday 7th November 2018 Wednesday, 21st November 2018
Wednesday 5th December 2018 Wednesday, 19th December 2018
Wednesday 2nd January 2019 Wednesday 16th January 2019
Wednesday 6th February 2019 Wednesday 20th February 2019
Wednesday 6th March 2019 Wednesday 20th March 2019
Wednesday 3rd April 2019 Wednesday 17th April 2019
Wednesday 1st May 2019 Wednesday 15th May 2019
Wednesday 5th June 2019 Wednesday 19th June 2019
Wednesday 3rd July 2019 Wednesday 17th July 2019
Wednesday 7th August 2019 Wednesday 21st August 2019
Wednesday 4th September 2019 Wednesday 18th September 2019
Wednesday 2nd October 2019 Wednesday 16th October 2019
Wednesday 6th November 2019 Wednesday 20th November 2019
Wednesday 4th December 2019 Wednesday 18th December 2019


Recommended Sexuality and Gender Indicators

Through regular and ongoing consultation with our communities and LGBTI health research experts we have developed the following sexuality, gender and intersex related indicators to capture our communities in data sets. We recommend the use of these questions in all health/human services data collection and in research where applicable.

ACON’s Research Priorities

HIV Action
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Sexual Health & Hep C Prevention
Alcohol & Other Drugs

Smoking …………………       

Domestic & Family Violence
Community Safety & Social Inclusion

Ageing Health Outcome Strategy 2017-2021

SWASH – The Sydney Women and Sexual Health Survey


The Sydney Women and Sexual Health (SWASH) survey was first carried out in 1996. It was initiated by workers from two ACON projects, Women Partners of Gay and Bisexual Men and the Gay and Lesbian Injecting Drug Use Project, who were faced with a lack of empirical evidence on which to base their intervention work. Research on lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health and wellbeing is still scarce.

SWASH is now a comprehensive survey of sexual and gender identity; community connection; smoking, alcohol and drug use; sexual health; height and weight; psychological wellbeing; experiences of anti-gay, sexual and domestic violence; parenthood intentions; preventive health behaviour; healthcare access and satisfaction; and knowledge questions on reproductive health.

The survey is run every two years by a collaboration of ACON and researchers at the University of New South Wales (until 2009), and now the University of Sydney (since 2010). SWASH is the longest running and only regular survey of LBQ women’s health and wellbeing in Australia (and probably the world). In 2010, the survey began running biennially in Perth: Women’s West Australian Sexual Health (WWASH).

For more information and research on women’s health in Australia, visit The Australian Women’s Health Network’s Women’s Health Hub online library. Information is categorised under various themes including a section relating to sexually and gender diverse women.

SWASH downloads:

Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey

The Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey (SGCPS) is a short survey that investigates the sexual practices, drug use, and health service engagement of gay and bisexual men. The findings are used to guide HIV and sexual health programs. It is conducted every year in February (corresponding with the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day). The Periodic Survey complements data from other studies. It provides valuable information for HIV health promotion efforts. The Periodic Survey is funded by the AIDS/ Infectious Disease Unit of the NSW Health Department.

ACON run SGCPS in partnership with Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH), UNSW. Click here to view SGCPS reports on CSRH website.


To find out more please contact Caitlin Bambridge at cbambridge@acon.org.au

ACON’s Health Outcome Statements

ACON has developed a series of Health Outcome Statements, which outline key data about the health of LGBTI people across a number of focus areas. These statements were developed between 2013 and 2018, and while much of the data remains relevant and significant, it should be noted that there any be new contributions to the evidence in these areas.

Mental Health and Wellbeing HoS

Alcohol and Other Drugs HoS

Smoking HoS

Domestic and Family Violence HoS

Community Safety and Inclusion HoS

Ageing HoS

LBQ Women’s Tobacco Reduction Project Survey Report

In 2015 an anonymous online survey of LBQ women was conducted to:

  1. Identify smoking and smoking cessation behaviours, patterns and contexts among LBQ women and,
  2. Compare the characteristics of current smokers and ex-smokers.
The information below presents findings and complete report from this survey. The findings from this research also helped inform #SmokeFreeStillFierce the hugely successful tobacco reduction campaign for LBQ Women.


Download the digital version of the full Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) Women’s Tobacco Reduction Project Community Report Online Survey Findings here. (Right click on the link and “save link as” to view the digital version correctly in Adobe Acrobat)

Download the printable version of the Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) Women’s Tobacco Reduction Project Community Report Online Survey Findings here.