Image: Burnet researchers Michael Traeger, Cassandra Wright, Reece Cossar and Joost Vanhommerig
Burnet staff were kept busy attending to keen interest in the Institute’s research in HIV and sexual health at the 2018 Midsumma Carnival in Melbourne’s Alexandra Gardens on Sunday.
Midsumma is Melbourne’s annual celebration of queer, intersex, transsexual, transgender, bisexual, lesbian and gay culture, and the Carnival kicks off two weeks of activities.
Burnet researcher Jason Asselin said the strong support and goodwill of carnival-goers is an affirmation of the Institute’s important role in the community.
“Coming to Midsumma every year provides us with an opportunity to not only showcase the work that we do to help improve the health outcomes of the LGBTI community, but also to show that we’re here, and to show our support,” Mr Asselin said.
Image: Captain Love and friends at Midsumma Carnival
“We’ve got a lot of strong allies and we consider ourselves a strong ally of the LGBTI community.
“It’s also a great way to show off the diversity of people who work for Burnet.
“As a member of the LGBTI community and also as a Burnet Institute staff member, there is something special about being able to be here, to be who I am, but also to show off the work that I and my colleagues do that we’re all so proud of.”
Hundreds of the estimated 80,000 carnival-goers took the opportunity to have their photo taken at the Burnet stall with Captain Love, the star of Burnet’s public health campaign Protect, Prevent, Test, which seeks to raise awareness around safe sex.
Image: Burnet researchers Brendan Quinn and Jason Asselin
Mr Asselin said he expects 2018 to be an exciting year for HIV research.
“The last couple of years have been big for PrEP and for HIV prevention and everyone’s waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the latest PBAC decision on PBS listing for PrEP, and that will be a great outcome if it’s listed,” he said.
“We’ve got ambitious goals to eliminate HIV, to eliminate HIV transmission and I think PrEP will have an important part to play in that.
“But we’ve got to look at other options as well, whether that’s increasing options for allowing men to test at home or rolling out testing models like PRONTO! which we’re doing in Bendigo.”
Image: The Alexandra Gardens an ideal setting for Midsumma Carnival
Click here to find out more about Burnet’s HIV and sexual health research.