A GLBTI health and wellbeing forum will be held in Beechworth in coming weeks.

Statewide HIV and STI information and support group Country Awareness Network Victoria (CAN) will be present the three-day forum in conjunction with the ALSO Foundation, Melbourne University’s Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health and the WayOut youth project.

CAN executive officer Adam Wright told Southern Star the forum would take a holistic approach to GLBTI health and wellbeing and hopes to attract around 100 participants.

“It’s about connecting people to help them find out what actually is out there in rural Victoria,” he said.

“Compared to the city, services may be fewer and far between but that’s not to say things aren’t happening out here, it’s about making those connections and raising awareness.”

Wright said the forum was designed to be interactive and targeted at both ordinary rural community members as well as health service providers.

“We want people to get more information … and discuss where the gaps may lay,” he said.

Forum topics will include physical and mental health and wellbeing, violence and community safety, youth and aging, gender identity and social networking.

CAN launched it’s current STI awareness project – Take Care Out Back There – during last year’s Spring Migration festival. This year’s forum will also form part of the Spring Migration festival.

The project has been funded by the Department of Human Services over a three year period to improve gay and lesbian health in rural areas.

The Rural GLBT Health and Wellbeing Forum will be held on September 2–4 at the Pines Conference Centre, Beechworth.

info: To register visit the CAN website, www.can.org.au. Some financial assistance is available from CAN for those facing financial difficulty to attend.

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