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Monday 08 November 2010

Review: Palmerston North's Shag Night

Posted in: Safe Sex
By Craig Young - 8th December 2009

I'd like to congratulate Palmerston North's MALGRA and especially its Sexual Health Group convenor, Danny Rudd, for a fabulous evening of condoms, quizzes and chocolates.

Sex toys from D-Vice
On December 3rd, an assortment of groups held a panel evening at Club Q's premises down Jersey Lane. These included Agenda, NZAF's Get it On Campaign, Radius Health, Midcentral's Sexual Health Service, the Public Health Organisation and the PN Women's Health Collective.

For much of the evening, there was a pleasant quiz about various STIs, HIV, cervical cancer, herpes, crabs, correct condom use, alcohol and smoking, HIV infection etc. I scored a free Get it On t-shirt, as well as consuming far too much chocolate!

As a reasonably seasoned reporter in this field, I also had several other questions. Lesbians may be at risk of exposure to the Human Papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer if they've ever had any previous sex with men. While gay men tend to concentrate on HIV/AIDS, there's also the matter of syphilis in our communities.

I had a fascinating conversation with Carl, a cute HIV+ prevention worker with the Get it On campaign. It dealt with the difficulties of gathering HIV and STI stats in a provincial city, given that most testing and sexual contact occurs off scene, probably in Wellington. What about booze and sex? Excessive booze fogs up personal risk assessment and isn't advisable. And are younger gay men more blasé about HIV/AIDS?

Certainly not MALGRA's Danny Rudd, who has just turned thirty and did a masterful job at events management. Thanks also to MALGRA - Manawatu's Lesbian & Gay Rights Association.

It's excellent to see provincial city LGBT organisations fighting HIV/AIDS and STIs within their own communities and I hope this becomes a regular Central North Island fixture.

Craig Young - 8th December 2009

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