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.

What to know about bipolar disorder and sex

Medical News Today, 

Bipolar disorder causes a person to experience intense shifts in moods, sometimes from a manic state to a depressed state, for example. These shifts can occur with changes in sexual desire, confidence, or sexual function.

Though the symptoms vary from person to person, bipolar disorder can disrupt several aspects of a person’s life, including their sexuality.

In this article, we discuss sexual symptoms of bipolar disorder and ways to manage them.

Baby boomers re-entering dating game more vulnerable to STIs

PM, ABC radio, 18/01/2018

Family Planning New South Wales surveyed 2,339 heterosexual men who were using an online dating service in 2014.

The survey found men aged 50 or older were less likely to use condoms and more likely than younger men to think that condoms reduced sexual interest.

The survey also found 49 per cent of men over 60 did not know that Australia’s most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI), chlamydia, often does not cause any symptoms.

Rising Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea Incidence and Associated Risk Factors Among Female Sex Workers in Australia

Rising Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea Incidence and Associated Risk Factors Among Female Sex Workers in Australia: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Authors

Denton Callander, PhD,*† Hamish McManus, PhD,* Rebecca Guy, PhD,* Margaret Hellard, PhD,‡ Catherine C. O’Connor, DrPH,*§¶ Christopher K. Fairley, PhD,||** Eric P.F. Chow, PhD,||** Anna McNulty, MM,†† David A. Lewis, DA, PhD,‡‡§§ Christopher Carmody, MB, BS,¶¶ Heather-Marie A. Schmidt, PhD,|||| Jules Kim,*** and Basil Donovan, MD*††

From the *The Kirby Institute, †Centre for Social Research in Health,
UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW; ‡Burnet Institute, Melbourne, VIC;
§RPA Sexual Health Clinic, Community Health, Sydney Local Health
District; ¶Central Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW;
||Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Health; **Central Clinical
School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash
University, Melbourne, VIC; ††Sydney Sexual Health Centre,
Sydney Hospital, Sydney; ‡‡Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre,
Parramatta; §§Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and
Biosecurity & Sydney Medical School-Westmead, University of
Sydney, Sydney; ¶¶Liverpool Sexual Health Centre, Liverpool; ||||
New South Wales Ministry of Health; and ***Scarlet Alliance, Australian
Sex Worker Association, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Abstract:

Background: Female sex workers in Australia have achieved some of the lowest documented prevalences of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmissible infections globally but rates overall are increasing in Australia and warrant closer investigation.

Methods: We constructed a retrospective cohort using repeat testing data extracted from a network of 42 sexual health clinics. Poisson and Cox regression were used to determined trends in incidence and risk factors for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and infectious syphilis among female sex workers.

Results: From 2009 to 2015, 18,475 women reporting sex work attended a participating service. The overall incidence of urogenital chlamydia was 7.7/100 person years (PY), declining by 38% from 2009 to 2013 before increasing by 43% to 2015 (P < 0.001); anorectal chlamydia incidence was 0.6/100 PY, and pharyngeal was 1.9/100 PY, which increased significantly during the study period (P < 0.001, both). For gonorrhoea, the urogenital incidence was 1.4/100 PY, anorectal incidence was 0.3/100 PY, P < 0.001), and 3.6/100 PY for pharyngeal; urogenital incidence doubled during the study period, anorectal increased fivefold, and pharyngeal more than tripled (P < 0.001, all). Incidence of infectious syphilis was 0.4/100 PY, which remained stable from 2009 to 2015 (P = 0.09). There were seven incident infections of HIV among female sex workers (0.1/100 PY). Inconsistent condom use with private partners, higher number of private partner numbers, recent injecting drug use, younger age, and country of birth variously predicted sexually transmissible infections among female sex workers.

Conclusions: Although infectious syphilis and HIV remain uncommon in female sex workers attending Australian sexual health clinics, the increasing incidence of gonorrhoea across anatomical sites and increasing chlamydia after a period of decline demands enhanced health promotion initiatives.

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Rising Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea Incidence and Associated Risk Factors Among Female Sex Workers in Australia: A Retrospective Cohort Study (PDF)

What is going on in gay men’s lives when they acquire HIV?

nam/aidsmap, Published: 08 September 2017

Gay men in England who have recently become HIV positive describe a complex web of factors which may have contributed to their infection, according to a qualitative study recently published in BMJ Open.

“Individuals who experienced multiple stressors, gradually over the life course or more suddenly, were especially vulnerable to HIV and being drawn into sexual risk situations, while the social environment created a context that enabled risk of HIV infection,” the researchers write. Individual and interpersonal factors frequently combined with community or structural factors, such as the widespread use of dating apps, chemsex and HIV treatment, as well as changing perceptions of the seriousness of an HIV infection.

VAC announces $100,000 for PREPX trial [for HIV prevention]

Gay News Network, Wednesday 18 January 2017

The Victorian AIDS Council has announced it will give an additional $100,000 to the PrEPX trial to fund access to pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PrEP) for 600 Victorians at risk.

VAC’s announcement comes months after PrEPX reached capacity for men living in
metropolitan Melbourne. The VAC said there is already a substantial waiting list for those wishing to access PrEP as part of the trial.