20 July 2018

A clever health initiative which asks young people to take an STI test in exchange for access to a VIP area will be on offer to Splendour in the Grass revellers this weekend.

Dr Chris Bourne, Head of NSW Health’s STI Program Unit said the award winning Down to Test program is normalising STI testing and improving people’s sexual health.

“STI rates in Australia are rising, with the number of chlamydia cases almost doubling over the past decade, and those most affected are aged 15 to 29,” Dr Bourne said.

“Music festivals present an opportunity to reach our target audience, raise awareness of STIs and reduce the stigma around testing. And results show this program is working.”

Almost 2,500 young people have provided a urine sample since the program launched last year, with 71 testing positive for chlamydia which, if untreated, can cause infertility.

Dr Bourne expects close to as many people will be tested at Splendour as were tested at the four previous festivals combined, given the size and popularity of the event.

“We hope record numbers will visit our VIP tent and in return we offer a ‘chill out’ area, free phone charging, clean toilets, a make-up bar and peace of mind,” he said.

“Chlamydia cases are on the rise. This test is confidential, takes less than five minutes and results are back to you in a few days via text or a phone call. It’s that easy.”

The Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW is monitoring the progress of the Down to Test program, which recently picked up a Mumbrella advertising award.

After surveying past participants in the program, researchers found over half reported improved knowledge of STIs and sexual health, while a third vowed to continue STI testing.

There were 28,000 chlamydia notifications in NSW last year. Most people are unaware they have the infection but chlamydia is easily cured by a single dose of antibiotics.

The Splendour in the Grass festival is on at North Byron Parklands from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd July. For more information on Down to Test, please see: https://playsafe.health.nsw.gov.au/down-to-test/

For more information on where to go to get a STI test go to or call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink 1800 451 624.​