If the luscious posters depicting two women kissing make you stop and think about your own sex life, then ACON has achieved its goal for the next stretch of the ‘Together We Can’ campaign which is promoting sexual health practices in the lesbian community.

ACON Lesbian health officer, Siri May said the concept was designed to be simple but effective.

“This is about making sure that lesbians are introduced to a culture of looking after each other and themselves,” she said.

“The message relates specifically to sexual health, because we don’t have much of a dialogue about sexual health in the lesbian and female same-sex attracted community.

“There is a legacy of constructed invisibility in our community, and most sexual health information is directed towards reproductive health for women.

“Because lesbian sexuality gets ignored, or only pops up when it’s being fetishised, there are a lot of women who are uninformed, who think that their sex doesn’t involve real risk, or there’s a lot of internalised homophobia that’s going on so they don’t want to talk about their sex.

“The reality is that lesbians can give each other STIs – herpes, chlamydia and other diseases can be passed on between women. It doesn’t need to be stigmatised, just talked about openly and honestly.”

The lesbian health awareness drive is part of a wider ACON campaign over the party season to get members of the gay and lesbian community to look after themselves and each other.

“Mainstream health and welfare providers don’t always meet the specific needs of the GLBT community,” ACON CEO Stevie Clayton said.

“In response to this, our community has developed what we call a ‘culture of care’ which is essentially a widespread practice of looking out for each other, whether it be in relation to HIV, sexual health, street safety or alcohol and drugs.

“In this 30th anniversary year of Mardi Gras, we felt it was appropriate to acknowledge, celebrate and encourage this phenomenon because together we can continue to achieve extraordinary things for our community.”

For more information on the Together We Can campaign visit www.acon.org.au.

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