Burnet celebrates Midsumma

Angus Morgan

18 January, 2016

Burnet researchers Brendan Quinn, Timothy Patton and Jason Asselin at the Burnet tent at the 2016 Midsumma Carnival.

A brilliant summer’s day helped to attract more than 100,000 people to Melbourne’s Alexandra Gardens for Sunday’s 2016 Midsumma Carnival, heralding the start of two weeks of events for Victoria’s GLBTI communities.

Staff at the Burnet stall were busy as usual attending to strong public interest in the Institute’s work, including the PRONTO! peer-led rapid-HIV testing service, a joint initiative with the Victorian AIDS Council.

It’s the second year the service, which is based in a Fitzroy shopfront, has been made available on a walk-up basis at Midsumma, and according to PRONTO! program manager Peter Locke, business was brisk.

“In the first year we weren’t sure whether people would participate because of confidentiality and because it’s a party atmosphere, but we learned that they did, and that it’s worth doing,” Mr Locke said.

“We’re getting people from out of town who can’t access testing in their home town, so to be here and doing the testing at Midsumma is extremely worthwhile.

“Today we’ve had a couple from Shepparton who saw us when we were in Shepparton but didn’t feel comfortable doing the tests up there.

“They know about us, they looked for us and they’ve come and had tests done, and we’ve had guys who were tested last year come again.”

Mr Locke said PRONTO!, which will be expanding its service to include STI screening from next month, is steadily gaining traction.

“Even if people don’t do the tests today, we’re talking to them and they’re becoming aware of the technology and the service, and we’re letting them know about our plans for the future,” he said.

There was no let up on the day for GLOVEMAN, the star of Burnet’s public health campaign Protect, Prevent, Test, which seeks to raise awareness around safe sex while reinforcing the message to test often.

Hundreds of Carnival goers stopped by the Burnet stand to have their photo taken with GLOVEMAN, who’s proving to be one of Midsumma’s most enduring attractions.

Burnet’s sexual health superhero, Gloveman with Burnet researcher Bridget Draper.

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Angus Morgan

Manager Media and Multimedia




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