Would you pee in a cup for VIP treatment at Mountain Sounds Festival?

Posted: 16 February 2018 7:09 am

Group dancing together

NSW Health and Mountain Sounds partner on "Down To Test" campaign.

In what is bringing new meaning to rocking out with your (ahem) bits out, NSW Health is offering access to its VIP area at Mountain Sounds festival to all those who get tested for chlamydia.

The Down To Test campaign is designed to improve STI awareness and reduce the spread of infection. Those who choose to get tested will be able to benefit from the "VIPee" area's hygienically clean toilet, a glitter bar and a phone charging station.

Head of the NSW STI Program Unit Dr Chris Bourne hopes that Down To Test will help NSW Health reach and educate those people aged between 15 and 29 about the benefits of STI testing and the use of condoms.

“Young people aged 15-29 have the highest rates of chlamydia and notification numbers continue to increase, so this new approach offers important health advice in a fun way.”

Of the 28,000 chlamydia notifications in NSW in 2017, the majority were for young people, which is a trend that seems to be common across borders.

Valentine's Day was also National Condom Day, which Queensland Health leveraged to remind young Queenslanders about the benefits of safe sex. In 2017, Queensland recorded its highest number in the last five years of (again) mostly younger people contracting chlamydia (over 23,000) and gonorrhoea (roughly 5,000 notifications). Worse still, says Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young, is that according to their research many people are misinformed about sexual health.

“The research revealed some incredibly concerning findings, including false beliefs from the majority of those surveyed, that the contraceptive pill (60%) and the ‘withdrawal method’ (52%) are effective forms of protection against STIs," Dr Young said.

NSW Health hopes that programs such as its Down To Test campaign will help to spread the word about the benefits of STI testing.

“Music festivals are a great opportunity to reach people aged between 15 and 29 to help normalise STI testing and remind them that condoms are the best way to stop the spread of HIV and STIs,” Dr Bourne said.

This is not the first time the Down To Test program has been rolled out, with the trial program testing 434 young people at the Listen Out festival in Sydney and more than 500 people at the Strawberry Fields and Festival of the Sun festivals last year.

Mountain Sounds Festival is being held on the Central Coast at Kariong Parklands and kicks off on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 February 2018.

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