ACON and gay and lesbian youth service Twenty10 will pool research and resources to provide better services and health promotion material for young people.

The agreement solidifies an unspoken relationship between the two organisations that will assist both in promoting their efforts to reach young clients.

“We want to make sure young people everywhere know that services like Twenty10 and ACON exist, so when they need services the right support will be there,” Twenty10’s co-convenor Jude Page told Sydney Star Observer.

“Two services working together have more chance of getting the message out there.”

ACON president Mark Orr said reaching gay and lesbian youth was a vital part of the organisation’s future. “It is essential [to make connections with youth],” Orr said.

“The world is a changing place. HIV has a very  different face now. It is important for us to reach out to young people, to make sure they are aware of our message on safe sex, and know how they can protect their own and their partner’s health.

“It’s easy for older people in the community to get blase, but we always have to be thinking about what is happening for young people.

“ACON’s been doing work around young people and HIV and health promotion for a long time, and we’ve worked with Twenty10 throughout that. This will formalise that relationship and makes a statement from a board level that we see this as an important part of our work.”

For gay and lesbian youth in need of help, the strengthened relationship will lead to more options in services.
“It’s about making sure that people get the best options and right support,” Page said.

“If we’ve got existing clients and we can refer them to programs like Fun and Esteem, or strengthen their sexual health information, it can only be a good thing. And vice versa, ACON will be able to refer clients to us for services that may be helpful.”

Fellow co-convenor Dr Sean Gallagher said it was a win-win outcome for both organisations.

“This will help ensure that resources made available to both organisations by government, business and the community reach young people who are same-sex attracted or gender diverse, their communities and their families, so they get the support they need and the best possible outcomes,” he said.

info: For more on Twenty10 visit www.twenty10.org.au. For more on ACON visit www.acon.org.au

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