Thorne Harbour Health calls for community to stop having casual sex during COVID-19

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.

New resource: LGBTI R U OK? Conversation Guide

National LGBTI Health Alliance and R U OK?,  February 2020

“Life can be challenging, and we all need support during times of grief, loss, relationship breakdown and when we’re under work or financial pressure. On top of this, LGBTI people might be subject to prejudice, stigma, discrimination, harassment, and violence.” 

National LGBTI Health Alliance has collaborated with R U OK? to produce this LGBTI guide which was released just in time for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

New ‘Trans @ School’ resource

 LGBTI Legal Service, Legal Aid Queensland and the Queensland Human Rights Commission, in consultation with the Queensland Children’s Gender Service, 2020

This resource has been developed in consultation with the Queensland Children’s Gender Service, young people, parents and educators.
School is an important part of life for children and young people. Schools not only have an ethical duty, but a legal responsibility to provide a safe and supportive environment that protects all students, including trans and gender diverse students. As such, schools need to know how to support trans or gender diverse students, and understand that each will have specific needs.
This guide is for trans and gender diverse students, and aims to help them navigate the complex issues that can arise at school.

Let’s Celebrate Safer Sex this National Condom Day (SHINE SA Media Release)

SHINE SA, 11 February 2020

Forget Valentine’s Day, there’s a new romantic day occupying February 14: National Condom Day! With only 36% of young South Australians always using a condom during casual sex, it’s no surprise that STI rates are on the rise. Like an elusive Valentine’s partner, many STIs are hidden. Around 70% of people with chlamydia have no symptoms, going unnoticed while being transmitted to others.

So what could be more romantic than preventing the unintended consequences of unprotected sex? Show some romance by taking advantage of how easy it is to get your hands on a condom. Condoms are widely available, don’t require a prescription and can even be found for free at SHINE SA clinics. SHINE SA encourages all young people to take steps to engage in safer sex. This means always having a condom handy, making time for that discussion with your partner/s, ensuring you have informed and enthusiastic consent and getting regular sexual health checks either through a GP or at a SHINE SA clinic.

Natasha Miliotis SHINE SA’s Chief Executive said:

“National Condom Day is a great reminder to take control of our own sexual health. Through the use of condoms and regular testing, STIs are preventable.”

For more information on the sexual health of young people in South Australia see: www.sahmri.org/aboriginal-health-equity-theme/news-270/

Want to learn more about safer sex? To mark National Condom Day SHINE SA have released the Safer Sex – Use a Condom campaign. The campaign highlights the importance of condoms and the concepts of safety, pleasure and respect for a safer sex life. View the campaign here: www.shinesa.org.au/safersex

For further information and media enquiries see media release for contacts:

 

FGM researcher says midwives are the frontline of Australia’s fight against the practice

ABC Radio Sydney, 6/2/2020

For Western Sydney University researcher Olayide Ogunsiji, female genital mutilation was so prevalent where she grew up in Nigeria, her own cutting was never questioned. When her daughter was born, there was every chance her child would have also undergone the traumatic practice if not for the education Dr Ogunsiji received in antenatal care. 

Key points:

  • Female genital mutilation/cutting refers to procedures that removed or injured female genital organs for non-medical reasons
  • The practice is illegal in Australia but roughly 53,000 women have been living with female genital mutilation in Australia
  • Antenatal clinics were often on the frontline of helping these women, but one expert said staff needed more specialised training to be better equipped in dealing with these patients

Working appropriately in Aboriginal sexual health (video)

YoungDeadlyFree, 2019

Learn about cultural awareness in Aboriginal health settings. It’s about being respectful, recognising differences, and being open to learning.

  • Watch video below: