ACON has mapped out three years of work with the release, this week, of a new document: Strategic Directions 2003-2006.
The paper commits the organisation to a course first adopted in 2000, when ACON announced it would look broadly at gay and lesbian health issues and not just HIV/AIDS. While that work continues, the paper commits ACON to working with several new constituent groups, including 16- and 17-year-old men, bisexual people and transgender people.
Dealing with 16- and 17-year-old gay and bisexual men was now legal and possible because of the equalisation of the state’s age of consent laws, ACON president Adrian Lovney told Sydney Star Observer.
ACON’s Thursday Afternoon Group (for school-aged students) would be the primary vehicle for the delivery of services to this group, he explained, although the Fun and Esteem group (for men younger than 26) would also be open to them where it’s possible and appropriate.
The inclusion of bisexual and transgendered people in ACON’s list of client communities was a recognition of the fact that the organisation had always provided services to those groups anyway, Lovney said.
We want to sit down and talk with groups like Sydney Bisexual Network about how we make our services more accessible, he said. It’s a natural evolution, but now we’ve got to match it with some action.
Strategic DirectionsÂ also commits ACON to expanding the range of programs offered in rural and regional branches. The organisation’s Genesis program (for recently diagnosed HIV-positive men) and Anti-Violence Project work would be run through the Illawarra and Northern Rivers branches in addition to the central office, Lovney said.
An as-yet-unreleased review of the 4th National HIV/AIDS strategy had given an endorsement to the new directions ACON set itself in 2000, Lovney claimed.
I understand that [the review] says that in order to do their prevention work properly, AIDS councils should re-examine their constituencies and roles and priorities, with a view to broadening their agenda, he said.
The release of Strategic Directions 2003-2006Â coincides with a comprehensive re-design and update of ACON’s website [www.acon.org.au].
Lovney welcomed the new-look site, saying it would help the organisation communicate with members more effectively.
It’s basically just an overhaul, with new content, he said. The old one was hung together with glue and sticky tape.