Tropical Fruits’ New Year’s festival is a three-day rainbow celebration encompassing parties, parades, and camping.

It’s a hot ticket every year, and sees sexual and gender diverse Australians congregate in the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales.

Health organisation ACON will again have a presence at the festival to help support the health and wellbeing of attendees.

Manager of ACON Northern Rivers, Marie Reilly, says the team is proud to be a part of the festival again.

“ACON Northern Rivers offers a suite of fun and supportive health promotion programs throughout the festival,” she says.

“ACON’s colourful and visual campaigns will be featured across the festival as well as local satellite events and activities.

“There will be free pop-up rapid HIV tests and STI screenings on site, and a chill out space with fresh fruit, water, and health information.

“We’ll also have our sexy tradies providing very popular party play packs for the campers and lots of safe sex goodies elsewhere.”

The upcoming festival will be the fourth that has seen ACON bring along rapid HIV tests.

Reilly says it provides the perfect opportunity to promote the importance of safe and easy testing.

“Pop up testing is a great way to promote convenient, free, confidential, and stigma free sexual health maintenance, and while some party folk are reticent to test over New Year, it’s a great opportunity to remind people to have a full HIV/STI screen once the party ends and the glitter settles,” she says.

“Our Rovers program has strong respect and support from our communities.

“It’s a testament to our local Rovers team, having developed a fantastic reputation for assisting happy, safe, and supportive partying.”

Reilly adds that it’s important to have services like ACON’s at party events during busy times of the year.

“It’s about supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities,” she says.

“Offering information and tools to assist informed choices around sexual and mental health, especially at such a busy time of the year.

“Peer and community driven activities support ACON to provide festival goers with strong, resilient, and healthy celebration cultures.”

For members of the LGBTI community planning to party hard over the New Year period, Reilly has a few easy safety tips.

“Make sure you drink plenty of water, but not too much, and if it’s hot make sure you have sun protection,” she says.

“Enjoy the delights of life in moderation and keep an eye out for each other.

“When it comes to sexual health – test more, treat early, and stay safe.”

Tropical Fruits Neon Garden NYE Festival will run from Sunday 31 December through to Tuesday 2 January. For more information about ACON’s regional outreach visit: www.acon.org.au/region.

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