HIV diagnoses in Australia drop to lowest number in 18 years: report

Kirby Institute, July 3rd, 2019

Australia continues to lead the world in HIV prevention and in 2018 recorded the lowest number of HIV diagnoses since 2001.

According to a report released today by the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, last year there were 835 HIV diagnoses across the country, which represents a decline of 23% over five years.

The declines reported today are largely due to reductions in the number of HIV diagnoses that are reported as attributable to sex between men. Over the past five years, HIV diagnoses have reduced by 30% among this population.

The report reveals no declines among heterosexual populations, with new diagnoses relatively stable among this group.

Similarly, there have been no declines in HIV diagnoses among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

The health and wellbeing of Australian lesbian, gay and bisexual people: a systematic assessment

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, I04 June 2019

https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12855

Abstract

Objective: This study revisits disparities in health and wellbeing by sexual identity in Australia, identifying which domains demand priority policy intervention, documenting differences between gay/lesbian vs. bisexual populations, and examining change over time in the relative health and wellbeing of sexual minorities.

Method: I fitted multivariable ordinary least squares and random‐effect panel regression models on 20 outcomes to compare the health and wellbeing of heterosexual, gay/lesbian and bisexual people, using 2012/2016 data from a national probability sample – the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey.

Results: I found strong associations between sexual minority identities and most health and wellbeing outcomes. These were comparatively larger for: role‐emotional health, mental health and general health; bisexual compared to gay/lesbian people; and minority women compared to minority men. I found no change over time in the relative health and wellbeing outcomes of gay/lesbian people, but evidence of worsening circumstances among bisexual people.

Conclusion: There are important disparities in the health and wellbeing profiles of different sexual minority populations in Australia, based on sex (male vs. female), sexual identity (gay/lesbian vs. bisexual), and observation time (2012 vs. 2016).

Implications for public health: Sexual identity remains an important marker of risk for health and wellbeing outcomes within Australia, underscoring the importance of fully integrating sexual identity in health policy and practice.

Decriminalisation of sex work in south Australia (SHINE SA Media Release)

SHINE SA,  

On 31 May 2019, the Sex Industry Network (SIN) will gather at Parliament House to rally for the decriminalisation of the South Australian sex industry and to recognise International Sex Workers Day.

In South Australia sex work is criminalised, prohibiting sex work so that those engaging in relevant activities can be prosecuted for criminal offences. SIN and Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) advocate for decriminalisation which is seen as a best practice model by sex workers and community-based organisations.

In a recent statement SIN said:

“Sex work is skilled labour. We deserve the same industrial protections as any other worker in South Australia and, currently, what sets us apart is the criminalisation of the industry within which we CHOOSE to work.”

Natasha Miliotis, Chief Executive of SHINE SA said:

“We support the work of SIN and their advocacy for the decriminalisation of sex work in SA.

Amnesty International, the United Nations and the World Health Organization have all called for the full decriminalisation of consensual sex work as the scientific evidence is now clear – criminalisation itself leads to harm¹.

From a public health perspective decriminalisation is important to not only reduce stigma and discrimination, but to improve the health and safety of workers, clients and the broader community².”

For more information on SIN’s celebration of International Sex Workers Day and the rally for the decriminalisation of the South Australian sex industry visit www.sin.org.au.

For further information contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development via email  or via telephone on 0434 937 036

 

 

¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30532209

² https://theconversation.com/new-report-shows-compelling-reasons-to-decriminalise-sex-work-83955

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.

 

 

STIs in remote Australia

ABC Health Report, Monday 18 March 2019 5:45 PM

Leading Aboriginal researcher Associate Professor James Ward* is calling for action in remote Australia to deal with a preventable epidemic of sexually transmissible infections — including syphilis — in a population that’s no more sexually active than non-Indigenous people of the same age.  

He joined Dr Norman Swan’s Health Report on ABC RN.

Later this month James will present to the National Rural Health Conference about addressing sexually transmitted infections in remote Australia.

*James Ward is Associate Professor, Flinders University; & Head of Infectious Diseases Research, Aboriginal Health, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. 

 

 

80% of new HIV cases transmitted by undiagnosed or untreated people

Healio, March 18, 2019

In 2016, more than 80% of new HIV infections in the United States were transmitted by individuals who either did not know they were infected with HIV or had been diagnosed but were not receiving care, according to data released on the first day of the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta.