lady sings it betterACON’s bold new initiative raises awareness about STI prevention among women.

ACON – the NSW-based health promotion organisation that specialises in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health – has joined Australian feminist cabaret act Lady Sings It Better to present a bold new initiative.

As part of ACON’s women’s sexual health project Claude, Lady has filmed a music video of Nine Inch Nails’ song Closer. The creative approach to women’s sexual health plays with the traditional sex education demonstration of the ‘condom on the banana’ by playfully recreating the metaphor with latex gloves and various fruits.

Maeve Marsden, director of Lady Sings It Better, said they were thrilled to be a part of the project.

She added, “Feminist activism can take so many forms and we try to contribute through music and humour. Our high-camp, high-femme, not-quite-safe-for-work interpretation of Closer is a musical celebration of diverse women’s sexuality.”

Women in LGBTIQ communities do not always benefit from the same level of sexual health promotion, testing and healthcare as their heterosexual counterparts, explains ACON’s HIV and Sexual Health Director Karen Price. Ms. Price also explained that awareness of this issue among health professionals is extremely low.

“Evidence indicates that women who have sex with women have the same rate of STIs as heterosexual women, however this is not widely recognised,” she said. “Our sexual health work with women is about highlighting that women in LGBTIQ communities should not be presumed to be at low or no risk of STIs.”

The director went onto explain how research from the Sydney Women and Sexual Health survey revealed that 40 per cent of lesbian and same-sex attracted women have never had an STI test. ACON wants to inform more women about their STI risk and how they can prevent infections based on sexual practices.

One of the ACON doctors working on the Claude project, Dr. Viv McGregor, said  the video offers a message about safe sex for women and the prevention of transmitting STIs. “A lot of women don’t understand why or how to use gloves in sexual settings. Gloves and lube are important for preventing the transmission of STIs.”

She said that she sees Claude as an innovative project, and that through using art, a broad range of women can be spoken to about sexual health based on their sexual practices and not through their sexual identities.

The video of Lady Sings It Better’s take on the song will launch at the Mardi Gras Festival’s Late Night Library: Queerstories at Kings Cross Library. It will go live on on Wednesday 2 March.