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New South Wales, News

NSW health service ACON announces service changes during pandemic

LGBTIQ health service ACON has announced changes to its service delivery in New South Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the federal government last night ordered a lockdown of non-essential services, ACON has increased measures to safeguard community health.

“We are closely monitoring developments relating to COVID-19 and we continue to take guidance from state and federal health agencies,” said ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill.

“We urge our communities to stay informed and keep up to date with the latest health information and advice.

“The safety and wellbeing of our clients, community members, employees, and volunteers are our top priority.”

Parkhill urged people in the community to follow public health advice on physical distancing, including not engaging in casual sex at this point in the pandemic.

“ACON is closely monitoring the situation, which is evolving daily, and we are constantly reviewing our activities,” he said.

“We will update our communities as information comes to hand.”

ACON counselling, care coordination, and intake services are still operating, with services now being delivered online

ACON’s a[TEST] Oxford St in Sydney will continue operating, providing access to rapid HIV testing and STI screenings.

Hours of operation will now be Monday to Friday from 11 am to 6:15 pm, with Saturday service suspended.

Testing will be by appointment only until further notice, and other ACON testing services are temporarily closed.

ACON’s needle and syringe program in Surry Hills, Newcastle, and Lismore remains open, with physical distancing measures limiting face-to-face interaction.

The HIV meal service is still running on a takeaway basis.

ACON head office in Surry Hills will remain open with limited staff, and the ACON meeting centre in Surry Hills will be temporarily closed until at least 31 March.

All non-essential ACON events, in-person meetings, social meet-ups, information forums, peer education workshops, training sessions, community gatherings, and awards presentations have been cancelled or postponed until further notice.

IN accordance with government orders, ACON has cancelled or postponed all large events until further notice, including the TransHub Launch, Australian Pride in Sport Awards, Bingay, Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards, ACON volunteer thank you event, and LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference.

Information on new dates and developments will be shared as it becomes available.

“These are uncertain and challenging times, but our community is resilient,” said Parkhill.

“History shows how strong our communities are when we come together in times of adversity.

“We are all in this together and we will overcome it if we all do our part.

“Let’s continue to stay informed so we can look after ourselves and each other.”

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