The Ending HIV Tent is returning to Broken Hill for all the glamour and glitter of the Broken Heel Festival.
Working in partnership with the Far West Local Health District, ACON, NSW’s the state’s leading organisation for community health, inclusion and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders, will have trained peers on-site throughout the festival offering free and confidential sexual health screenings for those wanting to test or chat about their health.
Running from 13-15 September, the Broken Heel Festival takes place in the shining silver city of Broken Hill in the state’s far west, and showcases all the town’s favourite haunts from the iconic 1994 film Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the Broken Heel Festival provides a great opportunity for HIV and STI testing within a community setting.
“Offering services to community in non-clinical settings is all about making sexual health testing more accessible – and drag performers have always held a special place in the fight to end HIV.
“ACON is here for the health and wellbeing of our communities’ right across NSW – and we have been proud to be a community partner of the Broken Heel Festival for the last five years,” Mr Parkhill said.
Jo Lenton, Clinical Nurse Consultant, said the pop-up service is an easy and convenient way for festival-goers to test.
“About 10 per cent of HIV infections in NSW are undiagnosed, so knowing your HIV status is an important first step to taking control of your health,” Ms Lenton said.
“Today HIV is a manageable chronic condition, there is a huge amount of support, and treatments are effective. Ensuring that the testing process is convenient and stress-free is key to keeping testing rates high.”
Broken Heel Festival Director Esther La Rovere said: “We love partnering with ACON and the Far West Local Health District for the Broken Heel Festival. Their work actively reduces HIV and STI stigma, normalises testing and celebrates all of us living proudly in the outback. The Silver City is excited to again welcome the diversity of festival-goers to the homeland of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.”
To kick off the weekend, ACON will also be co-hosting a reception with the festival on Thursday 12September from 5.30pm at The Palace Hotel. The team will be hosting a photo booth throughout the festival, distributing hundreds of safe sex packs, and providing resources and information in partnership with the Far West Local Health District’s sexual health team.
The Ending HIV Tent will operate within the Festival from 6pm on Friday and Saturday nights, where anyone (18+) can grab a test.
This initiative is a partnership between ACON, Far West Local Health District, the NSW Ministry of Health, and the Broken Heel Festival.