Maxi Shield, one of Sydney’s beloved drag queens and community leaders, is the star of a new video convincing gay men to get tested for HIV, and other STIs, more often.
LGBT+ health organization ACON created the video to coincide with the New South Wales’ HIV Testing Week.
The video follows Shield’s highly-camp journey through a sexual health check-up at an a[TEST] centre on Sydney’s iconic gay strip, Oxford Street.
“Being able to walk in and talk with someone just like you is a very reassuring experience, and one that can put men at ease who are not quite sure about the testing process,” Shields said.
a[TEST] is a fast, free and confidential rapid HIV and STI testing services for gay men, provided by those who know them best, and is available in four locations across Sydney.
While the a[TEST] service is only currently available in New South Wales, the video encourages men everywhere to test often and know their status.
“Over the last few years we’ve seen an affirming increase in the rates and frequency of testing by men across our communities,” said ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill.
“While it is great that gay men are testing more often, there are always opportunities to build on this, and ACON will continue to work with our communities to make sure testing remains easy and accessible, and a routine part of our lives.”
“Once people know their HIV status, they can take action to improve their health outcomes and prevent passing on HIV and many other STIs.”
To book a free, rapid HIV test here in New Zealand, head over to www.endinghiv.org.nz.