The ACON entry in the 2003 Mardi Gras parade has been announced: an encore appearance of the 1992 entry Vicki Virus. Designed by late visual artist David McDiarmid, the Vicki Virus float was first accompanied by dancers who wore sashes declaring their HIV status.

ACON policy officer Stephen Gallagher was one of the original 1992 Vicki babes and told Sydney Star Observer that the float was the first parade entry to feature people identifying their HIV-positive status. Gallagher will march with the float again this year, after offering some hands-on assistance.

The float came about because we managed to rescue the David McDiarmid piece from the [defunct] Mardi Gras workshop and John Byrnes, who does our event stuff here, has renovated it, Gallagher said. It was quite useful for me to give a hand because I was involved with the original entry -“ we were a bit concerned to ensure that the restoration was true to the original.

Gallagher would not be drawn, however, on further details about the entry or whether there was a specific theme or focus for 2003.

There is and of course, in the true spirit of Mardi Gras, you’re going to have to wait until the night to find out what it is, Gallagher said

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