HIV on the rise is the message ACON will be carrying on their float in this year’s parade. It will be made up of around 65 people carrying large, brightly coloured arrows pointing up to get their message across.

ACON events coordinator John Byrne, who put the float together, said he decided to make it fluoro and bright instead of really depressing and dark.

I’ve also added Keith Haring imagery into it, because he was queer, and he was angry and HIV-involved, Byrne said.

ACON president Adrian Lovney is thrilled their entry is the fifth float in the parade. It’s the earliest we’ve ever been, so obviously it’s considered we have an important message to get across, he said.

Lovney said the people in the float will mostly be made up of the volunteers who will go on to the party and act as Safe Sex Sluts and Drug Rovers. He said there will be around 40 Drug Rovers at the party, making sure people are okay and looking after themselves because we’re quite concerned about GBH use this year. We want to make sure people who need medical help get it.

Apart from reminding people to use condoms, the other message ACON wants to send out is that they get more complaints of homophobic violence on Mardi Gras night than any other time. So think about the route you’re going to take to the party, who you’re with, and what you’re wearing, Lovney said.

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