Position Statement on LARC access during the COVID-19 pandemic

SHINE SA, April 7, 2020

SHINE SA, along with Family Planning VictoriaFamily Planning NTFamily Planning TasmaniaSexual Health and Family Planning ACTSexual Health Quarters, and True Relationships & Reproductive Health have co-signed a Position Statement on LARC access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Extended use of and ongoing access to LARCs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Provision of contraception is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent unintended pregnancies. This is particularly important for individuals most at risk, including young people due to their high levels of fertility, people with serious health conditions, and for those who are post-abortion. Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive methods (LARCs) are more effective than shorter acting methods and increased community access and uptake is associated with lower abortion rates.

Ongoing access to LARC insertion is essential during the pandemic

Contraception is essential health care and all efforts should be made to continue the insertion of LARCs during the pandemic. To reduce the risk of infection with COVID-19, this may require different approaches to insertion such as a wearing mask during insertion of contraceptive implant or using an inserter-only approach for IUD insertion (with an assistant outside the room for emergencies).

Summary of recommendations during the pandemic

  • All efforts should be made to continue access to insertion of LARCs during the pandemic, particularly for younger people, people with serious health conditions, and post-abortion
  • The etonogestrel implant (Implanon NXT) can be extended off-label for use up to 4 years
  • The 52mg LNG IUD (Mirena) can be extended off-label for use up to 6 years
  • The 19.5mg LNG IUD (Kyleena) cannot be extended beyond 5 years
  • Standard sized T shaped banded copper IUDs can be extended off-label for use up to 12 years
  • 5-year copper IUDs (Load 375 and Copper T short) can be extended off-label for use up to 6 years
  • Additional use of condoms and/or a contraceptive pill should be discussed with users for whom the risk of an unintended pregnancy is unacceptable during extended use.

 

FGM researcher says midwives are the frontline of Australia’s fight against the practice

ABC Radio Sydney, 6/2/2020

For Western Sydney University researcher Olayide Ogunsiji, female genital mutilation was so prevalent where she grew up in Nigeria, her own cutting was never questioned. When her daughter was born, there was every chance her child would have also undergone the traumatic practice if not for the education Dr Ogunsiji received in antenatal care. 

Key points:

  • Female genital mutilation/cutting refers to procedures that removed or injured female genital organs for non-medical reasons
  • The practice is illegal in Australia but roughly 53,000 women have been living with female genital mutilation in Australia
  • Antenatal clinics were often on the frontline of helping these women, but one expert said staff needed more specialised training to be better equipped in dealing with these patients

APS Refutes ‘Social Contagion’ Arguments

APS (The Australian Psychological Society), September 2019

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) today released the following statement in support of transgender people in Australia, and challenging the unfounded claim that social media influences the gender of young people specifically:

“Empirical evidence consistently refutes claims that a child’s or adolescent’s gender can be ‘directed’ by peer group pressure or media influence, as a form of ‘social contagion’,” APS Fellow Professor Damien Riggs said.

International consensus on testosterone treatment for women

Jean Hailes, 2 September 2019

The first Global Position Statement on the use of testosterone in the treatment of women, led by the International Menopause Society (IMS), was published in four leading international medical journals today.

The statement has been authored by a diverse team of leading experts based around the world and has been endorsed by internationally-esteemed medical societies.

It follows years of debate regarding testosterone therapy for women and, for the first time, provides agreement among experts and medical societies about how testosterone could be prescribed for women.

Access the statement: 

Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health Position Paper: Second Edition, 2019

Australian Women’s Health Network Inc., 2019

The Australian Women’s Health Network first published its Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health Position Paper in 2012. Since then significant work has been undertaken across Australia in this area and a number of its recommendations have been implemented. This has resulted in a robust on going public conversation and a greater understanding of women’s sexual and reproductive ill health, its impact, what drives it and how best to prevent it. These gains have only been possible through continuing evidence-informed advocacy, research and practice development.

In light of the new knowledge and experience available, and changes to the political, organisational and social landscape in 2019, the Australian Women’s Health Network has updated its Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health paper to produce
this Second Edition.

This paper advocates for a rights-based approach to ensuring all women can access comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care appropriate to their needs,
regardless of their location, age, sexuality, financial status and religious and cultural background. It explores seven key areas through which good sexual and reproductive
health for Australian women can be achieved.

These are:

1. promoting positive and respectful attitudes to sex and sexuality

2. developing women’s health literacy

3. increasing reproductive choice

4. facilitating women’s health throughout pregnancy and birth

5. expanding prevention and treatment of reproductive cancers and menstrual issues

6. improving prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

7. equipping the health workforce to better respond to women’s health needs.

World Medical Association updates advice on medically indicated termination of pregnancy

Australian Medical Association, October 21, 2018

Revised advice to physicians on medically indicated termination of pregnancy has been issued by the World Medical Association.

At its recent annual General Assembly in Reykjavik, the WMA reiterated that where the law allows medically indicated termination of pregnancy to be performed, the procedure should be carried out by a competent physician.

However, it agreed that in extreme cases it could be performed by another qualified health care worker. An extreme case would be a situation where only an abortion would save the life of the mother and no physician was available, as might occur in many parts of the world. This amends previous WMA advice from 2006 that only physicians should undertake such procedures.