Young Gay Men

We’re here to help young gay and same sex attracted men (under 26) 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 young gay and same sex attracted men.

Our Work With Young Gay Men

MP LI

We run a range of FREE peer-led events, workshops and projects for gay and same-sex attracted guys aged 18-26.

Through our work, we provide a place where young guys can meet each other and make new friends in a safe, social environment. Here they can share ideas with their peers and learn more about identity, coming out, sex and sexual health, healthy relationships and more.

Young gay men have lower rates of HIV and sexual health testing than older members of the community. Of course, this makes sense. Only after people overcome the initial barriers to testing for the first time are they  able to commit to a regular testing pattern. We help young guys to share their experiences around testing and understand why regular testing is important for all sexually active gay men.

We work in both a face-to-face capacity as well as online through social media. Through these different formats young people are able to discuss concerns around online safety, hooking up and negotiating safe sex practices through different apps and websites. The internet is the primary method that most young people learn about sex and sexual health. This is especially true for gay sex that may not be adequately covered in schools or other sex education.

For a roster of social events or to find out how you can get involved, email youth@acon.org.au

 

Workshops for Young Gay Men

Our Young Gay Men Project, SPARK, offers a range of FREE workshops for young same-sex attracted guys (gay, bisexual, queer, curious), trans inclusive who are aged 18-26 years old.

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 4 sessions. 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 workshops. 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!

Workshop details:

Venue: ACON Sydney 414 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

Dates:

Wednesday – 21/08/2019
Wednesday – 6/11/2019
Wednesday – 11/3/2020

Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm

To register, 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.

To register, 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.

To register, 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!

To register, sign up here

 

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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.

Workshop details:

Venue: ACON Sydney 414 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

Dates:

Tuesday – 8/10/2019
Wednesday – 5/02/2020

Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm

To register, 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.

To register, sign up here

 

Find Out More

For more info, please contact Loc Nguyen on (02) 9206 2077 | youth@acon.org.au

HIV & STI Prevention

HIV Basics

whatisHIV

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

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

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.

a[TEST]

ACON provides a range of FREE community-based rapid HIV and STI screening services for gay men in Sydney and in selected regional locations in NSW. To find out more or to make an appointment to get tested in Sydney, please visit www.atest.org.au.

  • Oxford St: 167 Oxford St. Darlinghurst Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm + Sat 11:30am – 2:30pm
  • Newtown: 222 King St. Mon & Tue 4:20pm – 7:20pm
  • Surry Hills: 414 Elizabeth St. Wed & Thu 3pm – 6:30pm
  • Kings Cross: 180 Victoria St. Sat, 3:30pm – 6:30pm

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:

 

 

Workshops For Gay Men

ACON offers a range of FREE workshops for same-sex attracted guys (gay, bisexual, queer or curious) ages 18+.

Our workshops are a great way to make new friends, improve your networking/relationship building skills and are designed to bring together guys from every part of our community. Our workshops cover, sex, HIV and sexual health, identity, relationships and issues facing the LGBTQ community at large. Our workshops are designed with community to ensure that they cover the topics that are important to you. Each group is roughly 10-16 guys and run over four weeks.

Our workshops are facilitated by trained professional volunteers and run out of ACON offices in central Sydney and selected regional offices.

We also run other workshops for young same-sex attracted guys aged 18-26 (trans guys included!) through our SPARK program here.

The below workshops are for all gay men. We also run other workshops for young gay men aged 18-26.

Looking For Mr. Right

Looking For Mr Right focuses on empowering participants to improve their skills and confidence when it comes to finding, starting and maintaining relationships. Participants will learn important relationship building skills such as the art small talk, discovering your values, how to navigate safe sex and conflict resolution. The workshop also explores HIV and sexual health as well as sex more broadly in relationships.

A practical and hands-on workshop, Looking For Mr Right is for anyone who wants to better understand and improve their relationship building skills, whilst also making great new friends in the process. Sign up here

Workshop details:

Venue: ACON Sydney 414 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

Starting Date:

Thursday – 12/09/2019
Tuesday – 8/10/2019
Tuesday – 5/11/2019
Thursday – 28/01/2020

Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm

Duration: 4 sessions (same time each week)

To register, sign up here

Arse Class

Arse Class is ACON’s 4 week workshop that gives participants the latest information to help them take the best care of their booty.

We will cover how to have enjoyable anal sex, kegels, maximising pleasure in the bedroom as well as HIV and sexual health more broadly. This workshop is fun, at times ridicules and a great way to meet like-minded guys.

This workshop is designed for guys who are interested in understanding anal sex and anal health more broadly and is recommended for guys who have gone through our workshops previously. If you are keen on taking part sign up Here

Workshop details:

Venue: ACON Sydney 414 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

Starting Date:

Wednesday – 28/08/2019
Thursday- 10/10/2019
Thursday – 7/11/2019

Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm

Duration: 4 sessions (same time each week)

To register, sign up here

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.

 

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

ACON Sexperts

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  | groups@acon.org.au

 

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.

 

General Support & Services

HIV Support

We’re here to help young 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 young 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 young 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 young 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 young gay and same sex attracted men who are experiencing domestic and family violence. To find out more please visit our Domestic & Family Violence section.