Embracing Community this International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (Media Release)

SHINE SA Media Release: 15 May 2020

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia recognises the strength and community spirit of LGBTIQA+ people, allows for broader community support, while at the same time acknowledging the stigma, discrimination and violence faced by LGBTIQA+ individuals.

A sense of community can contribute to self-worth and acceptance as well as address isolation. A safe and welcoming community for LGBTIQA+ people provides essential support. This is especially true given that sexuality, gender identity and intersex status aren’t necessarily visible. Having a community provides a voice to ensure that LGBTIQA+ people’s needs and concerns are being heard.

In this time of social distancing for all of us, it’s more important than ever to maintain a sense of community. For many LGBTIQA+ people the current environment makes it difficult to physically connect with their communities, which is especially important if individuals are in isolation with unsupportive people.

For those that identify as LGBTIQA+, there are many groups and spaces available to stay connected with communities in South Australia. Some of the online spaces and services include:

  • qsOnline, a discord based social space for LGBTQIA+ people ran by The Queer Society. It has a range of different channels allowing people to talk about any and all of their interests.
  • Trans Femme SHINE SA and TransMascSA, private Facebook groups for transgender people to socialize and discuss their personal experience.
  • Moolagoo Mob & Blak Lemons, a social space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who identify as LGBTIQA+, including sistergirls and brotherboys.
  • SHINE SA’s Gender Wellbeing Service and Gender Connect Country SA provide free peer-based support over the phone and can help provide connections through groups and other safe spaces for those that identify as trans, gender diverse or gender questioning.

Awareness and support for LGBTIQA+ people should also extend into our workplace. LGBTIQA+ training is key to providing an inclusive workplace, to learn more you can visit SHINE SA’s LGBTI Inclusion Training page.

SHINE SA celebrates International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia and recognises the particular strengths LGBTIQA+ people bring to all of our communities.

For further information and media enquiries contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development 

 

Internet-based self-sampling for Chlamydia trachomatis testing

Söderqvist JGullsby KStark L, et al
Internet-based self-sampling for Chlamydia trachomatis testing: a national evaluation in Sweden

Abstract:

Objective Internet-based testing for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) with self-sampling at home has gradually been implemented in Sweden since 2006 as a free-of-charge service within the public healthcare system. This study evaluated the national diagnostic outcome of this service.

Methods Requests for data on both self-sampling at home and clinic-based sampling for CT testing were sent to the laboratories in 18 of 21 counties. Four laboratories were also asked to provide data on testing patterns at the individual level for the years 2013–2017.

Results The proportion of self-sampling increased gradually from 2013, comprising 22.0% of all CT tests in Sweden in 2017. In an analysis of 14 counties (representing 83% of the population), self-sampling increased by 115% between 2013 and 2017 for women, compared with 71% for men, while test volumes for clinic-based sampling were fairly constant for both sexes (1.8% increase for women, 15% increase for men). In 2017 self-sampling accounted for 20.3% of all detected CT cases, and the detection rate was higher than, but similar to, clinic-based testing (5.5% vs 5.1%). The proportion of self-sampling men was also higher, but similar (33.7% vs 30.8%). Analysis of individual testing patterns in four counties over 5 years showed a higher proportion of men using self-sampling only (67%, n=10 533) compared with women (40%, n=8885).

Conclusions Self-sampling has increased substantially in recent years, especially among women. This service is at least as beneficial as clinic-based screening for detection of CT, and self-sampling reaches men more than clinic-based testing.

Porn use is up, thanks to the pandemic

The Conversation, 8th April 2020

Not all businesses are experiencing a downturn. The world’s largest pornography website, Pornhub, has reported large increases in traffic. In many regions, these spikes in use have occurred immediately after social distancing measures have been implemented.

Why are people viewing more pornography? I’m a professor of clinical psychology who researches pornography use. Based on a decade of work in this area, I have some ideas about this surge in online pornography’s popularity and how it might affect users in the long run.

LGBTQ Online Forum: COVID-19 & Our Communities

ACON, April 2020

When: Monday 6 April 2020, 3pm-4.30pm (Virtual Event via Zoom)

ACON will be hosting a live online information session to explore coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on sexuality and gender diverse communities on Monday 6 April 3pm – 4.30pm.

The forum will include experts from community, public health and medicine, who will talk through issues, answer questions and provide better clarity, so that we can work together to confront this crisis.

Guest speakers:
– Professor Andrew Grulich, Professor HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Program, The Kirby Institute, UNSW
– Jane Costello, CEO, Positive Life NSW
– Dr Justin Koonin, President, ACON
– Dr Brad McKay, General Practitioner

More speakers to be announced

Facilitated by: Maeve Marsden, Writer, Performer, Producer and Director

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.

Prostitution and sex work: nature and prevalence in England and Wales (report)

University of Bristol, commissioned by the Home Office and the Office of the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, October 2019

The University of Bristol was commissioned by the Home Office and the Office of the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner to look in to the current ‘nature’ and ‘prevalence’ of prostitution in England and Wales, involving adults aged 18 or over. The research was carried out between May 2018 and June 2019.  We were not asked to report on policy or law.  Drawing on the literature and initial findings, we used the following definition:

Prostitution and/or sex work constitutes the provision of sexual or erotic acts or sexual intimacy in exchange for payment or other benefit or need.

Following a systematic search of the existing national and international evidence base, including a review of previous prevalence studies, we sought views, data and personal experiences through a 6-month public online survey, yielding almost 1200 often detailed responses with over 500 from those currently or formerly involved in selling sexual services.  We also worked through NGOs and support services to identify individuals unlikely to respond to online surveys. We completed follow up in-depth email interviews with 42 individuals.  We invited 155 organisations, collectives and individuals to consult on our draft finding at four regional meetings in early 2019.

Given methodological and ethical constraints, we recognise two groups whose voices are under-represented or absent within this report: (1) Migrant sex workers; (2) British and non-British individuals who are/were forcibly coerced, who are/were trafficked, who are/were sexually exploited and/or who are traumatised in relation to their experience.

In terms of ‘prevalence’, currently in England and Wales there is no source of data which allows for the production of representative population estimates for this group.  Stigma, the private and hidden nature of the sex industry, complex engagement patterns and definitions of activities mean that estimating prevalence is challenging.  Producing an accurate estimate would require studies to follow the guidance and recommendations on data collection jointly produced by the UNAIDS and World Health Organisation (WHO) (2010) and/or to use statistically representative samples.  Focused and small-scale prevalence studies are also more likely to be accurate.  The report provides guidance on such work.

In terms of ‘nature’, overall, we found that the way that sex is sold in England and Wales today is both complex and diverse.  It is common for individuals to move between settings and services, for safety or to maintain income, and to engage full-time, part-time (sometimes alongside other paid work or study), intermittently or casually.  Looking across our data, we identified and structured our commentary around the following:

Cross-cutting themes

Identifying sex work, identifying as a sex worker

·         Social identities, inequalities and routes in

·         Patterns of engagement and moving between settings/services

·         Advertising, payment and third parties

·         Risk, harm and managing safety

·         Buyers and buying

 Settings and services

·         Bar-based sex work and hostess bars

·         BDSM, kink and fetish

·         Brothels, parlours, saunas

·         Erotic and exotic dance

·         Erotic massage

·         Escort: independent

·         Escort: agency

·         Pornography, glamour, erotica

·         Sex parties

·         Street and outdoor sex work

·         Sugar arrangements

·         Telephone, text-based, TV-based, live voyeurism

·         Therapeutic services

·         Webcamming

Individuals selling sex in England and Wales today are varied in terms of demographics and motivation. At the same time, there are recurrent patterns of experience or identity that mark some individuals’ entry into the sex industry and/or the type of setting, service or the conditions in which they work.

We found that a substantial proportion of individuals (mainly women and trans women) are selling sex to get by financially, given different constraints in their lives around caring responsibilities, physical and mental health, lack of access to social security benefits and support services, workplace discrimination, or other reasons.  Their situation is compounded by stigma and managing safety, and many find that the longer they sell sex, the harder it can be to leave completely.  This moves beyond individual ‘choosing or ‘not choosing’ and recognises the structural economic and social context in which choices are narrowed: or in the case of those coerced in to selling sex, choices removed.