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ANU Students roll out the Red Party

Philippa Moss

One of the most important public health priorities in Australia is the reduction of the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in young people, via the promotion of condom use and sexual health testing.

It can be challenging reaching out to youth and informing them of the significance of their sexual health. Many think they’re at a low risk of contracting STIs or don’t realise the prevalence of STIs in their social network.

Despite the fact that today’s youth have greater access to information than any prior generation and the availability of sexual health programs designed to inform and educate, a significant proportion of young people today engage in unprotected sex. Those who contract and spread STIs are also ignorant of their status as STI testing rates are quite low in this sector of our population. To be frank, our youth remain shockingly ignorant of the potential risks to their sexual health and how easily they could protect it.

The danger of modern-day STIs is that they cause the skin to break down and can increase a person’s risk of getting Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS). STIs also cause a range of symptoms and health problems, from minor annoying conditions to serious life-threatening implications.

Reaching this group is a particular priority of the AIDS Action Council, in order to provide accurate and up-to-date information that will inform the decisions and choices that ensure their sexual health. When exploring new ways to conduct health promotion we need to challenge conventional wisdom around what works, adapt our practices to emerging trends, understand our audience and be willing to take risks.

For the Council, it’s crucial that we identify and support credible organisations that understand and actively engage with young people. So when we come across innovative and creative approaches to community outreach and fundraising it’s quite exciting.

One of the most successful youth-oriented initiatives in Canberra is the Red Party held by the ANU Medical Students’ Society, who like many other student organisations throughout Australia hold an annual Red Party to raise funds for the HIV/AIDS organisation of their choice. It is a genuine example of youth thinking locally and acting globally.


The purpose of the party is to increase the awareness of sexual health amongst youth and to raise funds for international HIV projects. Preceded by a week of awareness and outreach activities on the ANU campus, the initiative aims to inform and educate ANU students of HIV in Australia and overseas. ‘Red Week’ is supported by an engaging promotional campaign that features HIV awareness events such as stalls, a film night, Red Aware speaker evening and Global Health Debate.

Billed as the Party to End HIV (We are the Generation), this year’s Red Party will be held at the ANU Bar on Saturday 20 August. The money raised will support The Global Fund and the HIV clinic of the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, which ANU medical students have a special relationship with.

Based on last year’s success – 1,000 tickets sold and fundraising which doubled the original target – the 2016 Red Party is rumoured to be an event not to be missed. Last year they set the bar high with two stages, fire baton twirlers, plus Bollywood and Samba dancers. A simultaneous Red Party was held in Manila which was aired on MTV in the Philippines, together with a nationally broadcast HIV Awareness TV campaign.

The Red Party Committee spend more than 12 months planning the initiative, which features a ‘Best Dressed’ competition, a range of prizes for the Best Dressed and an ‘epic party line up’ including Triple J’s Asta (pictured), Ned Philpot, Peter Kiemann, DJ Truples and the Burgmann Band. They also plan to raise a whopping $25,000 for The Global Fund.

And who doesn’t enjoy a good excuse to dress up? The Red Party theme is the internationally recognised colour of the AIDS cause. What better colour to splash out in, on a winter’s evening? With a creative organising committee, fun theme, positive vibe and diverse range of entertainment, this will be one university party not to be missed!

the essentials 

What: The ANU Red Party
When: Saturday August 20 from 7.30pm
Where: ANU Bar, ANU Campus, Acton
For more information and ticket purchase see the Red Party website.

The Red Party is proudly supported by the ANU Medical School, ANU Medical Students Society, the ANU Students Association, the AIDS Action Council, the Canberra Sexual Health Clinic and Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT.

Feature image via


Philippa Moss

Philippa Moss is a HIV activist, professional feminist and best known for her outspoken voice promoting healthy public policy and healthy urban development. Philippa has been a happy resident of Canberra for the past 17 years. Originally from Sydney, she came to Canberra at a pivotal stage in her life. She is a proud mother of two children, a son and daughter in their teens/twenties, who as a Queer parent has always felt a part of Canberra’s greater Lesbian, Gay and Queer community. She was recently appointed the Executive Director of the AIDS Action Council (ACT), after acting in the role for the past two years. In 2015 she was awarded the ACT Telstra Business Women’s Award for Purpose and Social Enterprise, along with the Australian Institute of Management’s Not for Profit Manager of the Year (ACT) award. More about the Author

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