‘Lets Talk About It’: South Australian Sexual Health Survey Results 2019

SAHMRI & Flinders University,  4th October, 2019

A South Australian-first youth sexual health survey has provided a unique snapshot of the sexual behaviours and knowledge of the state’s young people. 

The head of SAHMRI’s Sexual Health and Wellbeing program, Associate Professor James Ward, says the results will help design policies, health services and education programs aimed at reducing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV and viral hepatitis (BBVs).

 

 

Emergency contraception awareness in an at‐risk population

Hope, D. L., Hattingh, L. and King, M. A. (2019) J Pharm Pract Res. doi:10.1002/jppr.1554

Background

Consumer awareness of emergency contraception is generally poor. School leavers (schoolies) engage in risky behaviours, including casual sex and alcohol and drug consumption.

Aim

The aim of this study was to explore the awareness of an at‐risk population of schoolies regarding the use and availability of emergency contraception.

Methods

An electronic survey was self‐administered by participants using Wi‐Fi‐connected iPads at the Schoolies Wristband Distribution Centre, Surfers Paradise, on the first day of Queensland Schoolies Week, November 2017. Outcomes measured were awareness of the availability of emergency contraception from a pharmacy, maximum time for effective use following unprotected intercourse and whether emergency contraception is harmful to the health of the user.

Results

Schoolies completed 498 valid surveys. Most (83.5%) were aged 17 years and 50.8% were aware that emergency contraception is available from community pharmacies with prescription and 36.7% were aware that it is available without prescription; 18.5% were aware of the 72‐ or 120‐h effectiveness window and 38.0% agreed that it is not harmful. All questions were associated with considerable uncertainty. Females were 1.8‐ to 3.2‐fold more likely than males to provide an appropriate response to any emergency contraception statement.

Conclusion

Schoolies’ awareness of emergency contraception availability, effectiveness window and safety was low. At‐risk schoolies may not access emergency contraception when indicated due to fear of harm, uncertainty about its effectiveness window or a lack of knowledge about timely non‐prescription access from community pharmacies. Targeted education may improve current knowledge gaps. The misnomer ‘morning‐after pill’ should be abandoned for the clinically appropriate term ‘emergency contraception.

 

Giving gay men self-test kits increases HIV testing by 50% – but STI tests decrease

aidsmap/nam, 21 August 2018

Gay men who were offered HIV home-testing kits took 50% more tests than men who only took HIV tests at clinics or community organisations, a randomised controlled study from Seattle in the USA has found.

The men who could self-test took fewer tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), though it is not completely clear whether this was because they went less often for STI checkups or had fewer STI symptoms.

 

Community-level changes in condom use and uptake of HIV PrEP by gay and bisexual men in Melbourne and Sydney

Lancet HIV (2018). Published online 06 June 2018. doi: 10.1016/S2352-301830072-9.

Abstract:

Background

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been rapidly rolled out in large, publicly funded implementation projects in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia. Using behavioural surveillance of gay and bisexual men, we analysed the uptake and effect of PrEP, particularly on condom use by gay and bisexual men not using PrEP.

Methods

We collected data from the Melbourne and Sydney Gay Community Periodic Surveys (GCPS), cross-sectional surveys of adult gay and bisexual men in Melbourne, VIC, and Sydney, NSW. Recruitment occurred at gay venues or events and online. Eligible participants were 18 years or older (face-to-face recruitment) or 16 years or older (online recruitment), identified as male (including transgender participants who identified as male); and having had sex with a man in the past 5 years or identified as gay or bisexual, or both. Using multivariate logistic regression, we assessed trends in condom use, condomless anal intercourse with casual partners (CAIC), and PrEP use by gay and bisexual men, controlling for sample variation over time.

Findings

Between Jan 1, 2013, and March 31, 2017, 27 011 participants completed questionnaires in the Melbourne (n=13 051) and Sydney (n=13 960) GCPS. 16 827 reported sex with casual male partners in the 6 months before survey and were included in these analyses. In 2013, 26 (1%) of 2692 men reported CAIC and were HIV-negative and using PrEP, compared with 167 (5%) of 3660 men in 2016 and 652 (16%) of 4018 men in 2017 (p<0·0001). Consistent condom use was reported by 1360 (46%) of 2692 men in 2013, 1523 (42%) of 3660 men in 2016, and 1229 (31%) of 4018 men in 2017 (p<0·0001). In 2013, 800 (30%) of 2692 men who were HIV-negative or untested and not on PrEP reported CAIC, compared with 1118 (31%) of 3660 men in 2016, and 1166 (29%) of 4018 in 2017 (non-significant trend).

Interpretation

A rapid increase in PrEP use by gay and bisexual men in Melbourne and Sydney was accompanied by an equally rapid decrease in consistent condom use. Other jurisdictions should consider the potential for community-level increases in CAIC when modelling the introduction of PrEP and in monitoring its effect.

Report: Gay and Transgender Prejudice Killings in NSW in the Late 20th Century

ACON, May 2018

Australia has a long history of violence towards people from sexual and gender minorities, stretching from colonisation to the present day. This Report looks at what has been a tragic and shameful episode in Sydney’s history.

ACON, in conjunction with key partners, has undertaken a review of the initial list of 88
homicide cases that occurred during the period t from the 1970s through to the 1990s.

The key findings from this review include:

1. Homicides occurred in three main spaces, with majority of victims being killed in their own homes, followed by beats, and other locations which mostly include gay and other social spaces.

2. In general, there was little or no pre-existing relationship between assailants and their victims.

3. Where killings happened in the victim’s house, the victim was more likely to be known to the assailant, albeit in a minor way, whereas there was generally no existing relationship between the victim and assailant where the killing occurred at the beat or gay social spaces.

4. Generally, spaces where people were murdered were private, secluded or isolated, which meant the assailant was less likely to be interrupted, and this impacted the victim’s ability to call out for help.

5. The scenarios in all the spaces were commonly sexualised, or where people could be disinhibited by the consumption of alcohol and other drugs.

6. Assailants employed a variety of killing methods and, in general, inflicted several forms of violence upon their victims. The type of attack and the weapons used varied according to the location where the killings was carried out, whether in the victim’s home, at a beat or in gay social areas.

7. There is evidence of serial killings by gangs of young men as well as lone assailants.

8. From available information, it appears groups of assailants tended to kill their victims at beats or social spaces whereas individual assailants killed their victims in private residences.

9. There is information to indicate homophobia was likely involved in approximately 50% of listed cases; however the two cases involving transgender women do not appear to have been motivated by transphobia.

10. Of the initial 88 cases on the original list, approximately 30 remain unsolved.

What is going on in gay men’s lives when they acquire HIV?

nam/aidsmap, Published: 08 September 2017

Gay men in England who have recently become HIV positive describe a complex web of factors which may have contributed to their infection, according to a qualitative study recently published in BMJ Open.

“Individuals who experienced multiple stressors, gradually over the life course or more suddenly, were especially vulnerable to HIV and being drawn into sexual risk situations, while the social environment created a context that enabled risk of HIV infection,” the researchers write. Individual and interpersonal factors frequently combined with community or structural factors, such as the widespread use of dating apps, chemsex and HIV treatment, as well as changing perceptions of the seriousness of an HIV infection.