Gay & Bisexual Men

We’re here to help gay, bisexual and same sex attracted men to take control of their health.

We provide information on relevant health issues, and we offer a range of specific and general services delivered by caring people who genuinely understand the health issues affecting gay, bi and same sex attracted men.

HIV + STI Prevention and Sexual Health

HIV Basics


What Is HIV & AIDS?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus affects the body’s immune system, its main defense against disease. If untreated, HIV weakens the immune system over time, leaving the person who has HIV open to other life-threatening infections.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome which refers to the range of specific illnesses that a person with HIV may get when their immune system becomes weakened by HIV. It’s possible to have HIV for many years before getting any of the illnesses usually associated with AIDS. For those on effective HIV treatments, the likelihood of receiving an AIDS diagnosis is very small.

Who Does HIV Affect?

HIV can affect anyone. However in New South Wales, the group most affected by HIV is gay and bisexual men who account for around 75% of new HIV diagnoses.

How Is HIV Transmitted?

HIV is transmitted when infected body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk or anal mucus) pass from a person with HIV into the bloodstream of an uninfected person.

HIV can be transmitted in a number of ways, but for gay men, anal sex without condoms is the most common way. Other forms of transmission include vaginal sex without condoms and sharing of drug injecting equipment.

How Does HIV Affect Health?

HIV causes significant damage to the immune system over time when left untreated, although the precise impact can vary from person to person. Among other things, a damaged immune system can impact on a person’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses. When someone contracts HIV they may experience something called a ‘seroconversion illness’ which is associated with flu like symptoms. Not everyone will get this illness.

Being on appropriate treatment can reduce the risk of developing a range of health conditions associated with HIV. Studies indicate that starting treatment very soon after infection can make a significant difference.

Many people with HIV consider the condition a manageable illness. With appropriate care, treatment and support, the impact on a person’s health and life expectancy can be greatly reduced.

Find out more about HIV prevention, testing and treatment on our Ending HIV website

HIV Prevention Basics


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

HIV Testing

Knowing your HIV status is now easy as, and it’s vital to efforts to end HIV transmission in NSW by 2020.

Benefits of Testing

Many new HIV transmissions in NSW occur because some gay men think they’re negative when they’re actually positive. That’s because it can take years before HIV symptoms are noticeable. Testing regularly so you know your HIV status allows you to protect your health and the health of your sexual partners.

If you find out you have HIV, you can then take steps to benefit your health, including talking to your doctor about treatment. There are plenty of services available to assist you with a new HIV diagnosis, including many provided by ACON.

Getting gay men to test more is vital to our goal of ending HIV transmission in NSW by 2020. You can help out by getting tested at least twice a year, or up to four times a year if you have more than 10 different partners in 6 months or have sex without condoms.

Getting Tested

Now that rapid HIV testing is available in NSW, testing for HIV is easier than ever, with results available in under 30 minutes.

You can get tested for HIV at any of ACON’s a[TEST] facilities (see below) or any medical or sexual health clinic in NSW.

There are other testing technologies that are being assessed for use in Australia, such as home-based testing kits. More information will be provided on these as they become available.


ACON provides a range of FREE community-based rapid HIV and STI screening services for gay and bisexual men in Sydney and in selected regional locations in NSW.

Coronavirus update: ACON’s a[TEST] Oxford St (167 Oxford St, Darlinghurst) continues to operate, providing our communities access to rapid HIV testing and STI screenings.

  • Open from Monday to Friday from 11am-6.15pm (closed Saturdays).
  • By appointment only. Until further notice, walk-in service has been suspended.
  • For more information or to make an appointment, visit the Ending HIV website here.

Other ACON testing services are temporarily closed until further notice including a[TEST] Kings Cross, a[TEST] Surry Hills, trans[TEST] and a[TEST] Chinese Clinic. a[TEST] Newtown is currently suspended due to clinical partner staff shortages.

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, or other intercourse.

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:

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 at

Workshops for gay, bi+, queer men (trans and cis) 18+.

ACON offers a range of FREE workshops for same-sex attracted guys ages 18+ (trans and cis).

Our workshops are designed by the community and are run by Peer Educations’ Volunteer Facilitators who are also gay, bi+ and queer!

Each of our workshops is different and aims to explore a topic that matters to our community. Some of the topics our workshops cover:

  • How to navigate sexuality and identity.
  • How to have safe, consensual, and enjoyable sex.
  • How to develop and maintain healthy relationships.
  • How to use dating apps and navigate hook up culture.

Each of our workshops also provides participants with the latest sexual health and STI information available in a fun and sex-positive way.

Each group runs with 10-16 people and runs over four weeks.

Register for our current workshops below.

Workshops for gay, bi+, queer men aged 18-26 (SPARK)

Our Young gay, bi+, queer Men’s Project, SPARK, offers a range of FREE workshops for young gay, bi+, queer guys (trans and cis) aged 18-26 years old.

Participating in a workshop is a great way to make new friends in a safe social environment and learn more about identity, coming out, sex and sexual health, HIV, relationships, the LGBTI community and other relevant topics.

There are usually between 10 and 14 guys in each group. Our workshops are facilitated by trained community volunteers and run over four sessions. Workshops happen at ACON’s offices in central Sydney and some regional offices.

Please contact for more information.

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)


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.


Free Play Packs


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

Simply complete the form below and we will get your play pack(s) delivered in no time!

If you need bulk supplies for a party, you can also request them from the below form.

If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact:

Order your play pack here.

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.


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:
  • 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
  • Trade
  • The Den Oxford Street
  • The Pleasure Chest George Street
  • Sydney Sauna

ACON Sexperts


Our Sexperts are peer education volunteers who visit sex on premises venues and have discussions with the customers about sexual health, HIV and STI testing, and other relevant topics.

We already have a really committed and fun group of volunteers which we are looking to add to as we expand the project to new premises.

To express interest in becoming a Sexpert contact us on: 1800 063 060 | (02) 9206 2075  |


Cervical Cancer Screening

I’m trans, do I need to screen?

Yes. Trans men and trans masc folk with a cervix who are 25 years of age or older are at risk of cervical cancer and need regular cervical screening.

Find everything you need to know about cervical screening, including HPV and the Cervical Screening Test, how to book your test and the choice of testing options available on the Can We website.



We’re here to help gay and same sex attracted men take steps to prevent their risk of cancer and find support after diagnosis and treatment.

To find out more please visit the ‘Cancer’ section on our website or visit ACON’s Can We website.


General Support & Services

HIV Support

We’re here to help gay and same sex attracted men 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.

Mental Health

We provide a range of counselling  and community care services for gay and same sex attracted men, 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 gay and same sex attracted men 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 gay and same sex attracted men 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 gay and same sex attracted men who are experiencing domestic and family violence. To find out more please visit our Domestic & Family Violence section.


We provide a range of resources and support services for older gay and same sex attracted men (50+). To find out more please visit our Ageing section.