Aboriginal People


We’re here to help improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, sistergirl/transgender or living with HIV.

Our Work With Aboriginal People

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We’re here to help improve the sexual health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, sistergirl/transgender or living with HIV. We do this by providing culturally sensitive HIV and sexual health education, including:

  • HIV and STI education campaigns targeting Aboriginal people including our Aboriginal gay men’s HIV testing campaign
  • Arts-based community development activities in partnership with Aboriginal Community organisations
  • Outreach at selected community events such as NAIDOC Week events
  • Partnership activities with Aboriginal health organisation such as the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW
  • Support for NSW Aboriginal Sexual Health Workers

For more information, please contact us here, via (02) 9206 2024 or our Facebook page.

HIV in the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population Paper

In 2019 we launched a policy paper to highlight the challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in relation to HIV and sexual health. Titled HIV in the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, the paper outlines key issues and sets out recommendations to improve health outcomes.

You can downloaded the paper here.

Community Outreach

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We get out and about as much as possible to relevant community events, especially those where we can have contact with gay men, sistergirls and people with HIV. We aim wherever possible to partner with Aboriginal community organisations to do this. Our community outreach activities include:

  • Gadigal Information Service’s Mardi Gras season Klub Koori
  • Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative’s Mardi Gras season show
  • World AIDS Day events at the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern

If you have an idea for outreach or would like to volunteer to help, please contact us here or via (02) 9206 2024.

Performance and Creative Arts

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First Australians and Mardi Gras

Each year we help organise the First Nations float in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Participants gather at two community meetings to work together to design the parade entry, developing new skills and creating activities the whole community can enjoy.

This culminates in the Mardi Gras Parade, raising awareness and visibility of sexual and gender diversity in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Planning for the performance and creative arts program begins in October. For more information or to get involved, please contact us: jstrang@acon.org.au | (02) 9206 2042

Creative Arts Workshops

From time to time we also offer activities such as music or photography as a way for community members to express themselves, tell stories, learn new skills, meet new people and celebrate culture.

If you have any suggestions for activities, or would like to register your interest, please contact us here or via (02) 9206 2024.

Ngalawi Djardi ‘Sit and Yarn’ Health Retreat

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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, information and support services

The name, Ngalawi Djardi means ‘sit and yarn’ in Dharug language. The retreat is facilitated by Aboriginal workers with non-Indigenous support staff. The purpose of the retreat is to connect and share support with others who have similar experiences. Quiet rest and relaxation time is also incorporated into the program.

Our retreats are held in simple motel-style accommodation with private rooms in a peaceful location just outside Sydney. All transport from ACON, accommodation and meals are provided.

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.

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. 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.

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

Ngalawi Djardi retreats are generally held in October/November each year. Interested people must contact us by 13 October at the details below so that we can assist you with your application.

For more information or to get involved, please contact us here or via (02) 9206 2024.

Stay in Touch

We communicate regularly with the community via our Facebook page. Please like our page to stay in touch with all our events and news about our services.

For more information, you can also contact us here or via (02) 9206 2024.

ACON Reconciliation Action Plans

In late 2016 ACON’s Board and Senior Leadership Team recognised the need to work in a more coordinated, culturally respectful and inclusive way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, service users and organisational partners. ACON initiated work with Reconciliation Australia to develop ACON’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is a formal framework for organisations to ensure their work supports the national reconciliation movement. Our collaboration with Reconciliation Australia has continued, most recently resulting in the production of ACON’s second RAP in 2020.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples remain a priority population under successive state and national health strategies, recognising that this population continues to be disproportionately impacted by poorer health outcomes across a number of areas, including HIV and STIs,  Mental Health and Wellbeing, Smoking, Domestic and Family Violence and Social Inclusion.

With the implementation of ACON’s two RAP, our intention is to build on the partnership work ACON has already been doing. We aim to create a more strategic, collaborative and whole of organisation approach to our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our second ‘Innovate’ RAP was released internally in May 2020, with a community launch held online in June that featured singer-songwriter and story teller Aunty Dawn Daylight and poet Brooke Scobie, and was emceed by Will Trewlynn from BlaQ. You can watch the launch of our second RAP below.

The Innovate RAP 2020-22 strengthens the organisation’s commitment to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultures, acknowledge our history, build closer relationships, and to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

You can access a public copy of our second RAP here.

If you have any feedback or would like to join the RAP Working Group, please fill out this short form or contact RAP@acon.org.au

Our first RAP was released in 2018, with community launches held in Sydney and across regional NSW during 2019.

You can access a public copy of our first RAP here.

ACON acknowledges and pays respects to the traditional custodians of all the lands on which we work. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

General Support & Services

HIV Prevention

We’re here to help end HIV transmission among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, sistergirl or transgender. To find out more please visit our HIV Prevention section.

HIV Support

We’re here to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with HIV take control of their health by providing up-to-date information as well as a range of programs and services. To find out more please visit our HIV Support section.

Sexual Health and Cervical Screening

Our sexual health programs for gay and bisexual men are inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who have sex with men.  To find out more please visit our Sexual Health section.

Our sexual health programs for lesbian, bisexual and queer women are inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have sex with women.  To find out more please visit our Sexual Health section.

We offer cervical screening programs for Aboriginal lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. To find out more please visit our Sexual Health section.

Aboriginal people who identify as heterosexual are encouraged to contact their local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or their local sexual health centre  for information about sexual health.

Mental Health

We provide a range of counselling  and community care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including those with HIV or who use drugs. To find out more please visit our Mental Health section.

Alcohol & Drugs

We provide a range of resources and support services to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who use alcohol and other drugs. To find out more please visit our Alcohol & Drugs section.

Safety & Inclusion

We provide a range of resources and support services to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are experiencing homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination. To find out more please visit our Safety & Inclusion section.

Domestic & Family Violence

We provide a range of resources and support services to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are experiencing domestic and family violence. To find out more please visit our Domestic & Family Violence section.

Ageing

We provide a range of resources and support services for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (50+). To find out more please visit our Ageing section.