Digital chemsex support and care: The potential of just-in-time adaptive interventions

International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 85, November 2020

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102927

T. Platteau, C. Herrijgers, J. de Wit

Abstract

Chemsex among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) has received increasing attention as a public health concern in recent years. Chemsex can affect a variety of aspects of the lives of GBMSM and contribute to physical, social and emotional health burden. Starting from a continuum perspective of chemsex, rather than a binary view of problematic vs. non-problematic use, we argue that men engaging in chemsex at different points in their chemsex journey may benefit from tailored and personalized support to cope with the various and evolving challenges and concerns that may be related to their chemsex behavior. To date, interactive digital communication technologies are not much used to provide support and care for GBMSM engaging in chemsex, neither for community-based support and care nor by health services. This suggests potential for missed opportunities, as GBMSM are generally avid users of these technologies for social connections and hookups, including in relation to chemsex. Recent research has provided emerging evidence of the potential effects of so-called just in time adaptive interventions (JITAI) to provide effective support and care for a variety of health issues. JITAI hold much promise for the provision of appropriate, tailored support and care for GBMSM at different points in the chemsex journey. Co-designing JITAI with potential users and other stakeholders (co-design) is key to success. At the Institute for Tropical Medicine, in Antwerp (Belgium), we initiated the Chemified project to develop an innovative digital chemsex support and care tool for GBMSM. This project illustrates how current understanding of chemsex as a journey can be integrated with a JITAI approach and make use of co-design principles to advance the available support and care for GBMSM engaging in chemsex.

 

 

The Experience of International Students Before and During COVID-19: Housing, work, study, and wellbeing

 University of Technology Sydney, Australian Research Council study (DP190101073),

International students’ experience of renting accommodation in Australia is a crucial but overlooked determinant of their wellbeing, which has been brought into stark relief by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report is based on two surveys of international students in the private rental sector (PRS). The first survey was conducted in the second half of 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the second survey in June and the first week of July 2020, during the pandemic.

The findings of the first survey show that a substantial proportion of international students were already in a precarious situation before the pandemic.

The second survey reveals the various impacts of the pandemic on international students in the private rental sector and the extent to which their circumstances have deteriorated.

The report also draws on data from the initial stage of the qualitative component of the study – semi-structured in-depth interviews with international students conducted between April and July 2020. Quotes from some of the 26 semi-structured interviews conducted thus far, are presented alongside the survey data evidence that follows.

Although the focus is on the experiences of private renting, the report has taken a broader sociological approach to student housing problems and, as such, it offers wider insights into the wellbeing, employment, and income situations of international students at a crucial turning point for the Australian higher education sector

‘I’m over the moon!’: patient-perceived outcomes of hepatitis C treatment

I’m over the moon!’: patient-perceived outcomes of hepatitis C treatment

Davoud Pourmarzi, Andrew Smirnov, Lisa Hall, Gerard FitzGerald, and Tony Rahman

Australian Journal of Primary Health 26(4) 319-324 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY20013

Submitted: 22 January 2020  Accepted: 29 April 2020   Published: 25 June 2020

Abstract

Understanding patient-perceived outcomes is crucial for assessing the effectiveness and acceptability of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment. This study aimed to explore patient-perceived outcomes of receiving direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). This study was a part of a mixed-methods case study of the Prince Charles Hospital program for improving access to HCV treatment in community settings. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with nine patients who were in different stages of their treatment for HCV. The participants were recruited using purposive sampling. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Patients emphasised ‘having more energy’ when reporting improvements in their physical health following treatment. They also reported a newly developed sense of freedom and hope. Improved physical and mental health empowered them to start a healthy lifestyle and to practise self-protection from the risk of re-infection. Patients highlighted their desire to help other patients to receive treatment, which was connected to their experience of the services that they received and their perceived health outcomes. Patients expect and experience various outcomes that are related to the physical, psychological and social aspects of living with, and being cured of HCV. Emphasis on the short-term outcomes of receiving HCV treatment may improve HCV treatment uptake and adherence rates.

Understanding the role of law and culture in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence

ANROWS, 2020

Family violence within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities attracts considerable attention in policy, research and practice.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have advocated for community-led approaches to family violence that are culturally safe, involve Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander justice models and recognise Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture.

This project used a strengths-based approach to explore the role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture plays in prevention, intervention and healing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family violence, and how this can be supported. The project was grounded in an understanding of family violence as shaped by the impacts of colonisation.

The research was undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place-based programs in six sites: the Kimberley (two sites) and the Pilbara (Western Australia), the Tiwi Islands and Darwin (Northern Territory), and Mornington Island (Queensland).

The final report emphasises the need for improved understandings within mainstream systems and services of the nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family obligations and interconnections, as well as acknowledgement of the link between violence and issues that stem from colonisation, such as alcohol misuse and intergenerational trauma. It recommends a greater focus on prevention, healing and diversions from the criminal legal system; the involvement of both men and women in the design and implementation of local family violence strategies; and interventions that worked at the family, rather than individual, level.

Hormones are not the key to younger women’s sexual function

Monash University, 22 July 2020

A Monash University study into the causes of sexual dysfunction in young women has found social factors play just as important a role as hormone levels, and hormone therapy should not be prescribed as the only treatment.

The study uncovered that while hormones, including androgens like testosterone, play a role, the things that matter more are whether a woman has children (parity), being partnered or taking psychoactive medication for depression or other mental health issues.

Community Forum: Sex Work Decriminalisation (free online event)

Thorne Harbour Health, July 2020

A review into the decriminalisation of sex work in Victoria is currently underway. Join us to learn about sex work decriminalisation from an expert panel including representatives of the Scarlet Alliance, Sex Industry Network, Vixen Collective, SWOP NT and Respect QLD.

The event will feature presentations on the current regulatory framework in different Australian jurisdictions and the lived experiences of sex workers under the criminalised model, followed by a panel discussion covering issues such as licensing, mandatory STI testing, and recent reform efforts.

Forum date & time: Wed, 29 July 2020 at 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM ACST