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

Asian, Gay & COVID-19 (Free online event)

 Gay Asian Proud & Thorne Harbour Health, July 2020

A live online chat with James & Amirul – sharing their lived experience as same-sex attracted guys with Asian backgrounds.

Date And Time:

Thu, 6 August 2020, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM ACST

Living Room Sharing Session:

Join Gay Asian Proud (GAP) coordinators James and Amirul in this casual, friendly and insightful conversation about being gay, Asian, moving away from home and living in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions.

Listen to them share their experiences about living in Australia, overcoming challenges as a migrant and international student, maintaining emotional and mental well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This session welcomes all of the LGBTIQ+ community and their allies. Attendees will be able to ask questions during the online chat which James & Amirul will endeavour to answer in a live Q & A after the session.

Meet the guys:

Amirul (or Rul for short) is a proud GAY-sian guy, born and raised in Sunny Singapore and has been living in Melbourne, Australia for almost 8 years. He first arrived in Australia back in 2012 as an international student and calls Melbourne home for now. Originally starting out as a member, he is now one of the volunteer facilitators for the social support group, Gay Asian Proud,

James is a migrant from Singapore and a former international student who has been living in Australia for more than 10 years. He is a Thorne Harbour Health peer education facilitator, and a Community Reference Group member at the Victorian Pride Centre. He writes “The Well-Fed Nomad”, a Facebook food blog about his cooking and eating experiences around the world. His passion for arts and culture has brought him to Asia and Europe to participate in cross-cultural leadership and international collaboration programs.

There are fears coronavirus is stopping Australia’s migrant women from accessing abortions

SBS News, 26th April 2020

Vulnerable pregnant women could lose access to abortion throughout Australia because of increased financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, reproductive health providers have warned. 

A combination of widespread job losses, differing abortion laws around the country, and patchy access to Medicare, could mean more women need financial assistance to terminate unwanted pregnancies or will face carrying their pregnancies to term.

Some providers even fear a return to people attempting unsafe abortions if women cannot afford legal terminations.

Gaps And Policy Barriers To Engagement With The HIV Cascade Of Care

Identifying and Plugging the Leaks: Gaps And Policy Barriers To Engagement With The HIV Cascade Of Care

CTAC (Canadian Treatment Action Council), 2018

This project explored what issues impact engagement by people living with HIV with healthcare in Ontario. The goal was to identify policy issues that impact treatment access for people living with HIV, and to identify opportunities to make the healthcare system more accessible.

The HIV Cascade of Care is a useful description of the different steps that a person living with HIV will need to take in order to achieve an undetectable viral load and optimal health outcomes, from infection and diagnosis through to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) initiation and viral suppression.

We know people drop out of the HIV Cascade of Care – e.g. why those starting treatment don’t stay on it. By seeking out policy barriers and developing solutions we can enable people to live long, healthy, and happy lives.

The project has five recommendations around barriers to engagement in the HIV Cascade of Care.

Download report here

 

Barriers to HIV testing for people born in Southeast Asia & sub-Saharan Africa

Curtin University,  2017

Over the past decade Australia has seen an increase in HIV notifications among people born in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South East Asia (SEA).

People born in these regions have the highest rates of HIV diagnosis by region of birth and are overrepresented in late or advanced presentations of HIV infection.

Previous research indicates that migrants from SSA and SEA attend health services in Australia regularly, but only 50% have ever tested for HIV.

This report provides a brief overview of the preliminary results from the Barriers to HIV
testing project – a qualitative research project using focus groups and in-depth interviews to explore the barriers and enablers to HIV testing among priority communities born in SSA and SEA, to better understand the factors influencing late
diagnosis.

Exploring psychosocial predictors of STI testing in University students

BMC Public Health, 2018 18:664, Published: 29 May 2018

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5587-2

Abstract:

Background

To explore university students’ Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing knowledge, psychosocial and demographic predictors of past STI testing behaviour, intentions to have an STI test, and high risk sexual behaviour, to inform interventions promoting STI testing in this population.

Methods

A cross-sectional, quantitative online survey was conducted in March 2016, recruiting university students from North East Scotland via an all-student email. The anonymous questionnaire assessed student demographics (e.g. sex, ethnicity, age), STI testing behaviours, sexual risk behaviours, knowledge and five psychological constructs thought to be predictive of STI testing from theory and past research: attitudes, perceived susceptibility to STIs, social norms, social fear and self-efficacy.

Results

The sample contained 1294 sexually active students (response rate 10%) aged 18–63, mean age = 23.61 (SD 6.39), 888 (69%) were female. Amongst participants, knowledge of STIs and testing was relatively high, and students held generally favourable attitudes. 52% reported ever having an STI test, 13% intended to have one in the next month; 16% reported unprotected sex with more than one ‘casual’ partner in the last six months. Being female, older, a postgraduate, longer UK residence, STI knowledge, perceived susceptibility, subjective norms, attitudes and self-efficacy all positively predicted past STI testing behaviour (p < 0.01). Perceived susceptibility to STIs and social norms positively predicted intentions to have an STI test in the next month (p  < 0.05); perceived susceptibility also predicted past high-risk sexual behaviour (p < 0.01).

Conclusions

Several psychosocial predictors of past STI testing, of high-risk sexual behaviour and future STI intentions were identified. Health promotion STI testing interventions could focus on male students and target knowledge, attitude change, and increasing perceived susceptibility to STIs, social norms and self-efficacy towards STI-testing.