New Bacterial Vaginosis Fact Sheet

SHINE SA, May 2019

SHINE SA has recently produced a bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. 

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition where there are too many of a certain type of bacteria in the vagina. Bacteria which are normally present in small numbers can sometimes overgrow, causing bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection. Bacterial vaginosis can occur when conditions in the vagina change and upset the normal balance of bacteria. It can be associated with new or increased sexual activity or with other changes such as menstruation or sexually transmitted infections.

Reproductive coercion research – seeking GPs

The University of Melbourne, May 2019

Reproductive coercion (RC) is an under recognised form of abuse experienced by Australian women. RC refers to a group of behaviours that intend to control a woman with regards to reproduction. Contraceptive sabotage, pregnancy coercion and controlling the outcome of a pregnancy are all forms of RC and often occur alongside other forms of abuse in a relationship.

Researchers at the The University of Melbourne are undertaking a project exploring GP’s experiences responding to RC. They aim to understand how GPs identify and respond to this type of abuse. They ask that any antenatal care GPs, or GPs who prescribe medical termination of pregnancy medication to participate in a confidential interview with a member of their team. The interview can be conducted either by telephone or face to face, at a time convenient to your busy schedule. Interviews take approximately 20 minutes and all interview data will be de-identified.

Ethics ID: 1853440.

To register your interest in the project or to gain more information about the project please contact: Molly Wellington

It’s time to lift the restrictions on medical abortion in Australia – Professor Caroline de Costa

The Conversation, April 1, 2019 6.13am AEDT

Over the past thirteen years, many Australian women have used the drug mifepristone (RU486) to bring about a medical abortion.

Rather than undergoing a surgical abortion in a clinic or hospital operating theatre, a medical abortion is induced by taking drugs prescribed by a doctor.

But while mifepristone has been available in Australia since 2006, only some women, in some parts of the country, are able to access it. Professor Caroline de Costa argues in the Medical Journal of Australia that this needs to change.

Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health Position Paper: Second Edition, 2019

Australian Women’s Health Network Inc., 2019

The Australian Women’s Health Network first published its Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health Position Paper in 2012. Since then significant work has been undertaken across Australia in this area and a number of its recommendations have been implemented. This has resulted in a robust on going public conversation and a greater understanding of women’s sexual and reproductive ill health, its impact, what drives it and how best to prevent it. These gains have only been possible through continuing evidence-informed advocacy, research and practice development.

In light of the new knowledge and experience available, and changes to the political, organisational and social landscape in 2019, the Australian Women’s Health Network has updated its Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health paper to produce
this Second Edition.

This paper advocates for a rights-based approach to ensuring all women can access comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care appropriate to their needs,
regardless of their location, age, sexuality, financial status and religious and cultural background. It explores seven key areas through which good sexual and reproductive
health for Australian women can be achieved.

These are:

1. promoting positive and respectful attitudes to sex and sexuality

2. developing women’s health literacy

3. increasing reproductive choice

4. facilitating women’s health throughout pregnancy and birth

5. expanding prevention and treatment of reproductive cancers and menstrual issues

6. improving prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

7. equipping the health workforce to better respond to women’s health needs.

Cervical cancer self-tests helping to break down barriers and increase screening rates

ABC Health & Wellbeing, Posted Friday 8th March 2019 at 14:54

In Australia, 80 per cent of cervical cancers are found in women who are overdue for screening or have never been screened.

“We know there’s an equity issue in our cervical screening program,” said Dr Saville, executive director of the VCS Foundation, a cervical screening not-for-profit.

“Women from lower socio-economic settings, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds do not screen as often … and are more likely to get cancer.”

In a bid to overcome these barriers, a self-testing process was introduced to Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program in 2017.

Cervical cancer could be all but eliminated in 80 years: Lancet study

RACGP News, 20 Feb 2019

The Lancet Oncology modelling study found 149 of 181 countries could cut rates of the preventable cancer to four per 100,000 women by the end of the century – the threshold for considering it eliminated as a public health problem.

The study finds that combining high uptake of the vaccine with high screening could prevent up to 13.4 million cases of cervical cancer within 50 years, with the most benefit in low and middle income countries.