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LGBTI Health

Thorne Harbour Country

Thorne Harbour Country provides support, counselling, rapid HIV testing, resources and information around LGBTI wellbeing, HIV, Hepatitis C and sexual health across the Loddon Mallee. Operating out of the Community Hub, Thorne Harbour Country provides a safe place for the LGBTI community to connect and access information resources and referral services.

Thorne Harbour Country

PRONTO! Bendigo

HIV testing in Bendigo has never been so easy with the arrival of PRONTO! Bendigo —offering free, rapid HIV testing for gay men and other men who have sex with men. Run by likeminded guys, PRONTO! Bendigo offers a different, less confronting testing experience.

News & Events

Well, Well, Well (JOY 94.9)

For over 600 episodes, Well, Well, Well has been broadcasting on JOY 94.9 - Australia's out and proud community radio station.

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News

11 Apr 2019

Autumn 2019 Newsletter

The cooler weather is rolling in and reminding us that the summer festival season is over, but we're keeping busy with an array of activities across the organisation. Check out the latest edition of the newsletter to see what we've been up to. Whether it's supporting the health of women in our LGBTIQ communities or introducing a diverse range of fresh faces to our health promotion campaigns, there's a lot on at the moment. Plus, don't forget to check out the community calendar on the back page for upcoming events.

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Media Releases

12 Jan 2018

Melbourne Gay Community Periodic Survey back for 2018 at Midsumma Carnival

The Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) along with the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) and the Kirby Institute at UNSW will be conducting the Melbourne Gay Community Periodic Survey (MGCPS) during the first week of the Midsumma Festival, this annual survey takes a snapshot of sexual practices men who have sex with other men in relation to the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.From Sunday 14 January at the 2018 Midsumma Carnival Day through Sunday 21 January, gay and bisexual men who have sex with men (MSM) will be asked to participate in the survey at a range of locations across Melbourne, including medical clinics, social venues such as pubs and bars, and sex-on-premises venues. Only Melbourne men who have had sex with another man in the past five years should complete a survey form, as well as men who don’t live in Melbourne but who regularly participate in the Melbourne gay community. The survey is completely anonymous, and the results are communicated later in the year via LGBTI and other media, through public meetings and seminars, in online reports, and through journal articles.First conducted in Melbourne in 1998, the short survey takes a snapshot of gay men’s sexual practices related to the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. The survey is important because it gives a snapshot of the lives of gay and homosexually active men in Melbourne from year to year. It allows comparisons to be made over time and for a picture to emerge of the changes in sexual practices and partnering habits, drug use, HIV and STI rates, and testing habits.The Periodic Survey is also conducted in other states during gay community festivals so that comparisons can be drawn between states. Data from the surveys are used to form local and national sexual health promotion campaigns and education strategies.“All same-sex attracted guys are welcome to complete this annual survey — gay, bi, trans and non-binary both HIV negative and HIV Positive,” said the survey’s Victorian coordinator, VAC’s Tex McKenzie.“New questions added this year include adding the gender assigned at birth and a question asking if participants have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B. And not all questions need to be answered by everyone; there are specific questions for men who are living with HIV as well as general questions that everyone can answer.”VAC CEO Simon Ruth added: “The Periodic Survey is an important piece of research that helps us target not only campaigns around HIV and STI-prevention, but around mental health issues and alcohol and drug use in our community as well.”“The data we gather from the survey over time is an invaluable resource for both state-based and national campaigns.”

23 Oct 2018

HIV and AIDS Priorities: working with the next Victorian Government to respond to HIV

Thorne Harbour Health, Living Positive Victoria, and Positive Women Victoria have released HIV and AIDS Priorities – a document that recommends 27 actions to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV and to build upon Victoria’s HIV targets, prevention, testing, and treatment efforts.HIV and AIDS Priorities also covers areas of stigma and discrimination, tobacco use amongst people living with HIV, and HIV-related law reform.Victoria’s major parties will have the opportunity to respond to the call at an event hosted at Thorne Harbour Health’s Positive Living Centre tonight (Tuesday 23 October 2018). Victoria’s record of action to reduce HIV transmissions and to support people with HIV should be enhanced through growing what works well and adding several new initiatives.Victoria’s three key community-controlled organisations working on HIV, Thorne Harbour Health, Living Positive Victoria, and Positive Women Victoria, have developed HIV and AIDS Priorities to help guide the next Victorian Government’s policy responses and continue to advance Victoria’s enviable record of support and action.Advances in treatment have made it possible to effectively suppress HIV replication and for people living with HIV to live normal lifespans. A sustained undetectable viral load eliminates the risk of HIV transmission, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is also being used as an effective prevention measure. In order to fully capitalise on these advances, better prevent HIV, and improve the lives of people living with HIV, accessible and timely testing and diagnosis is required for all Victorians who may be at risk of HIV alongside access to treatment, care, and support. Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth said, “Victoria’s sexual health service infrastructure has failed to keep up with the state’s population growth and is impeding our efforts to effectively tackle HIV and high rates of other STIs.”“We need to look for ways to expand our prevention and treatment service systems through GPs and Hospitals across Victoria. PEP should be available at every hospital and cost barriers to treatment should be removed.”Living Positive Victoria CEO Richard Keane said, “Victoria also requires action to end HIV-related stigma and discrimination. Anti-stigma campaigns should be funded, and family and peer support programs should be developed and extended. Unnecessary HIV disclosure should be discouraged through new guidelines.”Positive Women Victoria Executive Officer Kirsty Machon said, “Victorian women require a specific focus, to ensure that health promotion messages and prevention programs are having an impact, that testing rates for women are increased through targeted and appropriate outreach and the education of health care providers, and that all women are diagnosed in a timely manner, accessing the treatment they need, and with referral to support and services.”Click here to read HIV and AIDS Priorities.

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