Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, July 2020
Priority groups at risk of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections are still likely to experience negative behaviour from the general public and in healthcare settings according to a recent report from the Stigma Indicators Monitoring Project.
86% of the general public sampled self-reported that they would behave negatively towards people who inject drugs to some extent, as did 56% of healthcare workers and 55% of healthcare students. Additionally, 64% of the general public, and 36% and 31% of healthcare workers and students respectively, self-reported likely negative behaviour (to some extent) towards sex workers.
Thorne Harbour Health – media release, 26 March 2020
For the first time in its four-decade history, Thorne Harbour Health is calling on communities to stop having casual sex in the face of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Thorne Harbour Health, formerly the Victorian AIDS Council, is calling on LGBTI communities and people living with HIV to limit their risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth said, “We’re faced by an unprecedented global health crisis. While COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted infection, the close personal contact we have when during sex poses a serious risk of COVID-19 transmission. We need people to stop having casual sex at this stage.”
“But after four decades of sexual health promotion, we know abstinence isn’t a realistic strategy for most people. We need to look at ways we can minimise risk while maintain a healthy sex life.”
Last week, the organisation released an info sheet with strategies to minimise the risk of COVID-19 while having sex. Strategies included utilising sex tech, solo sexuality, and limiting your sexual activity to an exclusive sexual partner, commonly known as a ‘f*ck buddy’.
“You can reduce your risk by making your sexual network smaller. If you have a regular sexual partner, have a conversation about the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Provided both of you are limiting your risk by working from home and exercising physical distancing from others, you can greatly reduce you chance of COVID-19 transmission,” said Simon Ruth.
The organisation’s stance is not dissimilar from advice from the UK government. Earlier this week, chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries advised couples not cohabitating to consider testing their relationship by moving in together during the country’s lockdown.
Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth released a video message today addressing sex & COVID-19 following last week’s message about physical distancing.
The number of gay and bisexual men using PrEP to prevent HIV infection has almost doubled in the last two years, according to the latest report from the PrEPARE Project.
The national online survey of Australian gay and bisexual men found that 43% of gay and bisexual men had used the antiretroviral drug in 2019, up from 24% in 2017. This increase aligns with falling HIV infections among gay and bisexual men in many jurisdictions.
The PrEP users surveyed reported positive experiences of using the drug, with the majority reporting reduced concern about HIV and increased sexual pleasure as a result. They also reported fewer concerns about disclosing PrEP use to others.
Read the 2019 survey report by the Centre for Social Research in Health.
Join our panel of researchers, health care workers, community members and psychologists as they delve into the issues of crystal use among gay men and men who have sex with men.
Following the Crystal Pleasures study into methamphetamine use in gay men and men who have sex with men, CSRH has produced a series of podcasts discussing this issue at length from a variety of viewpoints, including interviews with people who use crystal, and health care professionals who work in these communities.
– Kerryn Drysdale – Research Fellow, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW
– Dr. Carole Khaw – Consultant Sexual Health Physician, Adelaide Sexual Health Centre
– Travis Atkinson – SAMESH Peer Educator
– Jack O’Connor – Social Worker, Drug & Alcohol Services South Australia
– Gary Spence – Health Educator, Hepatitis SA
Sexually Transmissible Infections in Gay Men Action Group (STIGMA), September 2019
Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are asymptomatic. Testing and treatment of asymptomatic men who have sex with men (MSM) is the most effective method to interrupt transmission and reduce the burden of illness. In particular, syphilis is increasingly common, is often asymptomatic, and can cause significant morbidity.
The main barriers to STI control are insufficient frequency of testing in MSM, and incomplete testing. For example, chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests should be performed at all three sites (swab of oropharynx and anorectum, and first
pass urine), and syphilis serology should be performed every time a HIV test or HIV treatment monitoring is performed.
HIV is now a medically preventable infection. All men who are eligible under the Australian HIV Pre-Exposure guidelines should be actively offered PrEP: www.ashm.org.au/HIV/PrEP All people with HIV should be advised to commence treatment and, where possible, have an undetectable viral load.
These guidelines are intended for all MSM, including trans men who have sex with other men .
This current version is endorsed by the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexual Health Medicine, Australasian Sexual Health Alliance, Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and is approved as an accepted clinical resource by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.