As visitors descend on Sydney for the biggest event since the 2000 Olympics, NSW’s leading LGBTQ health organisation ACON has launched its largest campaign yet – reminding revellers to look after their health and safety during WorldPride, especially in relation to HIV, sexual health, wellbeing and consent.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the campaign aims to put health and safety front-of-mind for locals and visitors alike during the festivities.
“Looking after your sexual health and that of your partners, as well as playing and partying safe, and respecting and practising active consent, will help everyone in our communities have a much more enjoyable festival experience,” said Parkhill.
With Love highlights key messages on HIV prevention and safe sex, harm reduction and staying safe on the street. It also raises awareness on sexual consent in NSW, mpox and COVID-19 risks, and the importance of vaccinations.
“For decades our communities have fostered a strong culture of care and heeded the call to use effective HIV and STI prevention methods to protect themselves and their partners,” said Parkhill.
“Making sure we continue doing this during celebrations such as WorldPride is incredibly important for our communities’ collective health and wellbeing.”
“With this campaign, we want to ensure our communities remain aware of risks around HIV, STIs, mpox, COVID-19 and the use of alcohol and other drugs, and are equipped with information on prevention, reducing harm and how to access support and services,” said Parkhill.
With Love has been developed with the support of NSW Health and several Local Health Districts.
“ACON has been working closely with NSW Health and many other clinical and community partners to ensure visitors have access to vital health services such as free HIV and STI testing and emergency PEP during the festival,” said Parkhill.
“In addition, eligible people, regardless of Medicare status, will have access to mpox vaccines, via dedicated ‘prevention hubs’ in the inner city – including interstate and international travellers.”
To help revellers celebrate safely, ACON will be deploying a 400-strong volunteer force at WorldPride, including the ACON Rovers, which provide harm reduction support at major events, and ACON Tradies, volunteers that distribute safe sex packs at venues and parties.
“ACON volunteers such as the ACON Rovers and ACON Tradies will be out and about throughout the festival to help people look after their sexual health and party safely,” said Parkhill.
“ACON information booths will also be set up at key events to provide partygoers with access to health information and resources.”
“We have also produced a pocket-sized guide that contains vital information on health, safety and support so that everyone can have a great time regardless of where they are from.”
With Love will feature on outdoor media including digital billboards and public transport, in local LGBTQ media, at LGBTQ venues and WorldPride events, in cinemas, and in social and digital media.
“WorldPride is a time for us to come together and unite,” said Parkhill. “Let’s celebrate our communities’ strength, diversity and pride, while taking care of our health and that of our partners.”
Image: With Love Campaign – courtesy of ACON