Secondary students’ sexual health survey results

La Trobe University, 11th June 2019

The sixth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, conducted in 2018 and released today, found 47 per cent of Year 10-12 students taking the survey had engaged in sexual intercourse.  Of sexually active respondents, 76 per cent had sex at home; 65 per cent with a boyfriend or girlfriend; 62 percent often or always used a condom; and 86 per cent with somebody about the same age.

Lead researcher at La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society Dr Christopher Fisher said the survey asked 6327 Year 10-12 students in Government, Catholic and Independent schools from each state and territory, about their sexual behaviour and knowledge of sexually transmitted infections.

“Overall, young Australians have good knowledge of sexual health, are behaving responsibly and are actively seeking out trusted, reliable sources of information,” Dr Fisher said.

Updated blood borne virus guidelines for health professionals in SA

SA Health, 11 April 2019

The ‘Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Healthcare Workers Living with Blood Borne Viruses and Healthcare Workers who Perform Exposure Prone Procedures at Risk of Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses’ have been updated. They can be viewed on the Commonwealth Department of Health website.

The guidelines are in two parts:

Part A provides information and recommendations for all healthcare workers, in particular:

  • healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures
  • healthcare workers living with a blood borne virus, and
  • doctors treating healthcare workers with a blood borne virus.

Part B provides information and recommendations for public health authorities including, but not limited to, hospitals and jurisdictional health departments, when managing or investigating a situation where a healthcare worker with a blood borne virus was not compliant with these guidelines and/or may have placed a patient(s) at risk of infection.

 

 

Liver cancer death rate rising: study

SBS News, 9/4/19

The rate of liver cancer deaths and diagnoses has increased substantially in the past three decades, yet researchers say little has been done to help Australians most at risk.

While it is considered a relatively rare type of cancer – nearly 2000 people were diagnosed in 2014 – the high mortality rate and increasing incidence of diagnosis has been concerning, researcher Barbara de Graaff says.

Rates were highest in the Northern Territory, mostly due to a higher prevalence of hepatitis B and C.

Cultural and linguistic diversity of people living with chronic hepatitis B

Cultural and linguistic diversity of people living with chronic hepatitis B in 2011–2016: changing migration, shifting epidemiology
Aust NZ J Public Health. 2018; 42:441-3; doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12826
Abstract
Objective: To estimate the cultural and linguistic diversity in Australians currently living with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), the majority of whom were born overseas, and to identify trends in this diversity over time.
Methods: Estimates were generated by combining Australian census country of birth
information with seroprevalence data generated from antenatal serology linked with
surveillance notifications. The number of people living with CHB was assessed according to country of birth using the 2011 and 2016 censuses.
Results: The total number of Australian residents living with CHB increased by 20% between 2011 and 2016, substantially outpacing population growth. The most common country of birth continued to be China, with the number of Chinese-born Australians living with CHB increasing by 60% in the 5-year period. Decreased numbers were observed for people born in European countries.
Conclusions: The epidemiology of chronic hepatitis B in Australia has shifted over time due to changing migration patterns, with increases in many countries in the Asia-Pacific, African and Middle Eastern regions. 
Implications for public health: Interventions to improve the health of people living with CHB are imperative, and these up-to-date estimates identify priority groups and communities, which are constantly changing.

New online learning from ASHM tackles stigma and discrimination in healthcare

The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), 1 st March 2019

To mark Zero Discrimination Day, today ASHM has launched Removing Barriers, a new online learning tool for addressing stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings against people affected by HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. 

The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) received funding from the Australian Government Department of Health to address systemic barriers and stigma and discrimination to increase access to the health system by people at risk of or with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV.

“Removing Barriers makes it everybody’s business to change what we say, change what we do and work together in removing the unacceptable barriers of stigma and discrimination across the health system.”

A guide to My Health Record: for BBV & STI healthcare providers to support their patients

ASHM  (Australasian Society for HIV Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine)

Healthcare providers can play a crucial role in helping patients make informed decisions about whether and indeed the extent, to engage with the My Health Record, particularly for those patients with BBVs and/or other potentially stigmatising conditions.

To support those conversations, ASHM has created A guide to My Health Record: for BBV & STI healthcare providers to support their patients. The guide outlines the key issues associated with My Health Record, and provides four key recommendations to clinicians around advising patients on how to engage with the system.

Though the opt-out period ends soon, clinicians still have an ongoing obligation to provide advice to patients around the benefits as well as the privacy and security control options available, to guide their decision-making around engaging with My Health Record.

With increased media attention on My Health Record in recent weeks, some specifics of the system may change. A guide to My Health Record is a living document and will be updated with any relevant changes as further details emerge.