I’m lucky: I get to chat with guys about sex all the time.  Sometimes it is online in a chatroom and at other times it is face to face in a Sex On Premises Venue.  Who am I do you think?  Have you been one of the guys I get to chat with online or in a venue?  Perhaps you have been.  I’m a volunteer with the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre Outreach Team.  I’m one of thirty odd guys who have been trained up about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, plus a whole lot of other stuff to do with being gay or bisexual.  Outside of the times I’m chatting about sex as a volunteer, I also have a pretty active sex life making do with Mr Right Now as I look for a my Mr Right!

The above sentences have been culled from the responses that volunteers with the Outreach Team have shared with me over the past year or two when I have asked them what volunteering to chat with same-sex attracted men about sexual health means to them.  Occasionally I get funny looks from the team of volunteers I supervise when I describe them as ‘ordinary’, but my point is that most of the team of volunteers look just like you and me: everyday folk who just want to make a difference.

There are times when guys who express an interest in being part of the Outreach Team say “I’m not a doctor or a sexual health nurse, but I think I might be good at this sort of thing”.  Other times a guy will say “I may not be suitable because I have HIV” or “I may not be suitable because I don’t have HIV”.  However in reality being a doctor or a nurse or being HIV positive or being HIV negative or being in IT or in retail or a student or selling cars or being under-employed means that yes, you are the right person to volunteer in Outreach.

The next training days are on both Saturday 16 & 23 March and interested guys need to be able to attend both days.  For more details you can check out: http://www.vicaids.asn.au/outreach.  On this page there is a link to an interview on JOY 94.9 where one of the team talks about what it is really like to volunteer to talk with other guys about sex and HIV and other stuff.  if you can’t do the training in March there are additional training workshops in July and November this year.  Volunteering helps our community, including you.

Tex McKenzie

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