Sexual Health

We’re here to help LGBTI people take control of their sexual health by providing information, workshops, a range of support services and distributing hundreds of thousands of condoms every year throughout NSW.

LGBTI Health

Cervical Cancer Screening

Everybody with a cervix is at risk of cervical cancer.

We’re here to provide information and promote the importance of regular cervical screening for LGBTIQ people.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet studies show that LGBTIQ people are less likely than the general population to attend cervical screening. Having regular Cervical Screening Tests is the best way people in our communities can protect themselves against cervical cancer.

On 1 December 2017, the Pap test changed to a more accurate Cervical Screening Test. Other changes include the age of screening increasing from 18 years to 25 years, and the time between tests changing from two to five years.

Visit The Inner Circle to find out about the changes to the Pap test, what’s involved in a Cervical Screening Test, information on sex, HPV and cervical cancer and tips and advice on how get through your test.

Watch community members talk about their experiences of cervical screening for The Inner Circle campaign.

If you live in Sydney, you can book in at Check OUT: LGBTIQ+ Sexual Health Clinic for a sexual health check and/or a cervical screening test. Check OUT is a community-led clinic, run by ACON and Family Planning NSW. All our frontline staff are trained members of the LGBTIQ+ community. Read more about Check OUT and book a test today.

Check OUT: LGBTIQ+ Sexual Health Clinic

Check OUT is a community-led sexual health and cervical screening clinic for LGBTIQ+ people

The clinic is staffed by LGBTIQ+ peer workers and expert sexual health nurses.

We offer HIV / STI screening and/or cervical screening and are open to all LGBTIQ+ people.

Check OUT is a safe and inclusive clinic for our communities. Check OUT provides trauma-informed care and is sex-positive and sex work friendly. All our services are free with a Medicare card.

The clinic is run by ACON and Family Planning NSW.

For info about accessibility, test results and services, please see our FAQ page.

Book online: www.checkout.org.au

Opening hours: Tuesdays, 12pm-8pm

Location: ACON, 414 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills

Call: 02 9206 2000

Gay & Same-Sex Attracted Men

Gay Men’s Sexual Health Basics

Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are infections that are transmitted during sex through body contact or the exchange of body fluids (i.e. blood, mucus or saliva). Sexual contact includes vaginal or anal intercourse or touching, fingering or sucking/kissing/licking a penis, vagina or anus.

STIs can be caused by viruses (e.g. HIV, herpes, genital warts), bacteria (e.g. chlamydia, gonorrhoea), or parasites (e.g. crabs, scabies).

If you manage your sexual health and play it safe you can significantly reduce your risk of getting an STI, or passing it on to a sexual partner.

Infection rates for some STIs – such as HIV, gonorrhoea and syphilis – are much higher among gay men than in the general population.

The best way to prevent HIV transmission among men is to have safe sex by using a condom and water based lubricant for anal sex.

Using condoms can also help prevent the transmission of some other STIs, but not all STIs.

Our Ending HIV website provides information about some of the most common STIs experienced by gay men (HIV-positive or HIV-negative). The site also has information for gay men about testing for and treating STIs, as well as the ability to make an appointment with one of our a[TEST] clinics for a test.

Watch the video for our STI awareness campaign below:

 

 

HIV Prevention Basics

whodoesHIVeffect

There are a range of ways to prevent acquiring HIV, referred to as combination prevention. This includes the use of condoms, PrEP and/or choosing partners with an undetectable viral load (UVL).

 

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of HIV medication to keep HIV negative people from contracting HIV. In Australia it is recommended that PrEP is taking as one pill, once a day.

PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV when taken as prescribed. Although PrEP does not prevent the transmission of other STIs, which can, in turn, increase the possibility of HIV infection. This is why we encourage people who are taking PrEP to regularly check in with their sexual health provider.  If any STIs do occur, get them treated and follow the advice of your sexual health provider.

People who are using PrEP should consider maintaining their condom use, particularly for casual partners, until you are aware of their testing regimen.

PrEP is now available on the PBS, making it affordable and accessible across Australia. Find out more information on how you can access PrEP now here.

Find out more about PrEP

 

Condoms & Lube

Condoms prevent or reduce the exchange of semen, vaginal fluid or blood between partners during sex. When used with lube, condoms are a highly effective way to ‘stay safe’ and prevent HIV transmission.

Condoms also offer protection against a range of other sexually transmissible infections (STIs). They do this by preventing the transfer of bodily fluids or by covering affected genital areas.

Find out more about using condoms and staying safe

 

Undetectable Viral Load (UVL) & Treatment as Prevention (TasP)

When a person living with HIV is on effective treatment, they often achieve what is called an “undetectable viral load”. This means that HIV is no longer able to be detected in their bodies by viral load tests, meaning the amount of virus is their bodies is extremely low. Many people refer to this as being “undetectable”.

In term of HIV prevention, there has never been a case of a person with an undetectable viral load passing on HIV to a sexual partner, a fact backed up by major international studies.

“Treatment as Prevention” (TasP) is when you choose sexual partners who are undetectable as there is not considered to be a risk of acquiring HIV from someone who has been had an UVL for more than six months.

Find out more about UVL

 

Risk Reduction Strategies

In addition to the use of condoms and lube, there are a range of other strategies that reduce, but don’t eliminate, the risk of HIV transmission.

These strategies include: ensuring HIV-negative partners are insertive (i.e. the ‘top’); ensuring partners have the same HIV status (i.e. pos-pos or neg-neg); and ensuring HIV-positive partners have an undetectable viral load. All these strategies carry risks that vary according to practice and circumstance.

Find out more about risk reduction strategies

Gay Friendly GPs

Friendly GP

When it comes to sexual health, lots of gay men like to speak with a supportive doctor who understands the ins and outs of gay sex.

Download a full list of Gay Friendly GPs here (Updated: May 2018)

 

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.

Looking For Mr. Right

Let’s face it at some point or another many of us are looking for Mr Right – that special someone you can cuddle up to in bed with and maybe even spend the rest of our lives with. Everybody’s Mr Right is out there somewhere, so you might be asking yourself why it’s taking so long to find yours.

Well, maybe we can help.

Here at ACON, we are holding a weekly workshop held over four weeks for gay men who want to meet their Mr Right. Our Looking For Mr Right workshop will help you navigate and negotiate your way around the complexities of today’s ‘dating landscape’, while learning about HIV, sexual health and staying safe.

Commenting about the workshop, Nicolas Parkhill, ACON CEO, said: “Looking for Mr Right is one of our most popular and well attended workshops. You will learn about improving your communication skills, the dating do’s and don’ts and the best way to enjoy intimacy. The workshops are relaxed, fun and are designed to encourage participation and great conversations.”

“You’ll also benefit from a panel of men who have different experiences of being in a variety of relationship types.”

Here are some comments from people who have attended the workshop in the past:

“I really enjoyed the group dynamic, camaraderie of the participants and the quality of information and topics covered.”

“I really enjoyed the active discussions and activities. It allowed me to open my mind to new opinions and perspectives.”

Workshop details:

Venue: ACON Sydney 414 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

Dates: Wednesday, 10 October to 31 October

Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm

To register, email lrabie@acon.org.au or call (02) 9206 2086.

 

More Workshops Coming Soon!

We are currently revamping our workshops. Keep an eye on this space.

Workshops for Young Gay Men

We offer a range of FREE workshops for young same-sex attracted men (gay, bisexual, curious), trans inclusive.

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.

Sign up for a workshop here

 

Upcoming Workshops

We’re currently seeking participants for the below workshop/s. Once enough participants have enrolled, dates for the workshop will be confirmed.

 

StartMakingSense

Start Making Sense

This a free workshop for young gay men aged 18 to 26. Meet other young guys and learn about identity, sexuality, coming out, family, friendships, relationships, the gay community and how to build social networks. We’ll also teach you about HIV, sexual health and how to stay safe when hooking up!

Sign up here

GettingItOnline

Start Making Sense – Mandarin

This workshop of for guys aged 18-30 who speak Mandarin. Explore being same-sex attracted, coming out, cultural identity, friendships, relationships, family, the gay community, building social networks, as well as HIV and sexual health. This workshop is delivered in Mandarin.

Sign up here

 

YGM-workshop-headers-SMS-Arabic

Start Making Sense – Arabic & Middle Eastern speaking background

This workshop is for guys aged 18-30 who are from an Arabic and/or Middle Eastern background. Explore being same-sex attracted, coming out, cultural identity, friendships, relationships, family, the gay community, building social networks, as well as HIV and sexual health.

Sign up here

 

SMS-online

Start Making Sense – Regional & Rural Online

If you live in a rural or regional area, this workshop is an opportunity to meet other guys around NSW and learn more about identity, coming out, sexuality, friendships, relationships, family, HIV and sexual health. All you need is an internet connection and a webcam enabled laptop or phone!

Sign up here

adultthemes2

Adult Themes

Meet like minded guys and explore issues around sexuality, intimacy, relationships, sexual attitudes, communication, HIV and sexual health. Get tips and techniques about how to have a better, healthier sex life. You’ll also get to hear from a panel of guys in the know.

Sign up here

 

GettingItOnline

Getting It Online

Learn tips and techniques for setting up a safe and effective gay networking profile. Make new friends while discussing the advantages and disadvantages of using the internet/apps for finding mates, dates and sex. Discuss social values, online etiquette and sexual discrimination.

Sign up here

 

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

Free Condoms

Get It On!

Condoms prevent or reduce the exchange of semen, vaginal fluid or blood between partners during sex. When used with lube, condoms are a highly effective way to ‘stay safe’ and prevent HIV transmission.

Condoms also offer protection against a range of other sexually transmissible infections (STIs). They do this by preventing the transfer of bodily fluids or by covering affected genital areas.

To help prevent the transmission of HIV and other STIs, we distribute over 230,000 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 find out where you can get our free condoms and safe sex packs, please visit our Ending HIV website.

To get free condoms at your community venue, event or clinic, please contact your nearest ACON office.

 

Play Zone – Sex On Premises Venue Code Of Practice

What is the ACON PlayZone Sex on Premises Venue Code of Practice?

The ACON PlayZone Sex on Premises Venue Code of Practice is a voluntary partnership project between ACON and Sex on Premises Venues (SOPV).

Compliance with the PlayZone Code ensures that patrons of SOPVs have a right to be treated with respect while in the venues, to practice safe, consensual sex and access to sexual health information.

The PlayZone Code also ensures that venue staff and customers have the right to accurate and up to date information about safe sex, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention and education.

PlayZone

When you see this sign you’re entering a PlayZone Code partner venue. That means the venue agrees to both work within the PlayZone Code and to be assessed for compliance by ACON.

The ACON PlayZone Code includes:

The Customers:

  • Free condoms and lube will be made available at all times.
  • Free condoms and lube will be accessible near areas like the darkroom.
  • Information leaflets on sexual health, clinics, HIV and STIs will be available.
  • Information leaflets will be accessible near areas with good lighting.

The Venue:

  • Lighting is appropriate enough so you can read the resources available; find the free condoms and lube; so staff can clean properly and so you can see where you are going.
  • Cleaning is done properly, with the right equipment so you don’t get messier than you want to.

The Staff:

  • Will be trained in the basics of sexual health, as well as drugs and alcohol, and will be able to show you where the information leaflets are within the venue if you need them.
  • Will be able to help you if you need basic information on sexual health or drugs and alcohol.
  • Will also be able to give you information on sexual health clinics.

ACON PlayZone SOPV Code of Practice Materials

Feedback on the ACON PlayZone SOPV of Practice

  • If you have any feedback, comments or wish to report any information regarding a SOPV in relation to the PlayZone Code, please contact us: playzone@acon.org.au
  • Please note participation in the PlayZone Code is voluntary.  ACON will deal with all comments received regarding the PlayZone Code and SOPVs confidentially. Information from the comments provided may also be passed on to the SOPV managers and staff for response.
  • If you require a response from ACON staff please provide your contact details.

ACON PlayZone Venues

These venues are committed to the PlayZone Code of Practice:

  • 357 Sydney City Steam
  • Adult World Newtown
  • Aarows
  • Bodyline
  • Trade
  • The Den Oxford Street
  • The Pleasure Chest George Street
  • The Pleasure Lounge Oxford Street
  • Signal
  • Sydney Sauna

LGBTIQ Women

Women’s Sexual Health

female-couple_Large

Women in LGBTIQ communities are diverse and our sexual health needs depend on the kind of sex we’re having.

The best way to manage your sexual health is to learn about your options for playing safe and get regular sexual health checks.

Check OUT: LGBTIQ+ Sexual Health Clinic is a safe and inclusive clinic for our communities. We offer HIV/STI screening and/or cervical screening for all LGBTIQ+ people. Check OUT provides trauma-informed care and is sex-positive and sex work friendly. The clinic is staffed by LGBTIQ+ peer workers and expert sexual health nurses. Book online or find out more: www.checkout.org.au

There is still some misinformation in our communities that women who have sex with women are not at risk of STIs. Infection rates among women who have sex with women are actually estimated to be the same as heterosexual women, but current research shows that 37% of women and non-binary people in the LGBTIQ community have never had an STI test, despite the vast majority being sexually active.

The Play Safe website has a top five tips for safe sex between women and if you need safe sex supplies and are a member of the LGBTIQ community we can post them to you anywhere in NSW (free!). Find out more and order here.

Seeing a GP

There are many local doctors, counsellors and health services that provide great, holistic services to the LGBTIQ community:

The Australian Lesbian Medical Association (ALMA) compiles an up to date list of doctors and mental health professionals who are recommended by lesbian and bisexual women. This is a national project. There are currently around 90 doctors and mental health professionals on the list, including GPs and specialists, metropolitan and rural doctors.

ANZPATH (Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health) has a list of service providers in NSW.

Women’s Health NSW is a collective of non-government, community based women’s health and specialist centres. All centres are feminist services that provide choices for women to determine their individual health needs. The site provides a list of women’s health centres that you can access by calling for an appointment.

We are designing a brand new sexual health project to better meet the needs of our community. This project will be replacing our sexual health project for women who play with women. We welcome all members of the community, including intersex people of all genders and sexualities to get involved in the consultation process. Find out more and sign up here.

SWASH – The Sydney Women and Sexual Health Survey

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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:

The latest two 2018 SWASH Reports listed below were released on International Women’s Day March 8 2019

Sexually Adventurous Women Project

NEED SAFE SEX SUPPLIES?

If you’re a member of the LGBTIQ community and you need safe sex supplies, we can post them to you anywhere in NSW (free!).

Our play packs include:

  • 10 gloves
  • 10 condoms
  • 9 ml Astroglide Natural toy friendly lube
  • 250ml Viraclean bottle (for cleaning toys and surfaces), and
  • A sex toy maintenance brochure (one per order).

Please let us know if you need latex free condoms and gloves.

If you need supplies for a party or venue please let us know.

Email your order with your name and postal address (NSW only) directly to: kink@acon.org.au

 

WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN CREATING A NEW SEXUAL HEALTH PROJECT?

We are designing a brand new sexual health project to better meet the needs of our community. This project will be replacing our sexual health project for women who play with women.

We welcome all members of the community to get involved in the consultation process. We particularly want to hear from all lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer women, non-binary people, intersex people and trans men / trans masculine people who sleep with women. We also welcome people from the kink community and anyone who identifies as LGBTIQ+.

Sign up below to hear updates and receive invitations for community consultations and focus groups. Coming soon!

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