Medical Board releases new guidelines for practitioners and students on blood-borne viruses

Medical Board of Australia, 23 Jun 2020

The Medical Board of Australia is encouraging practitioners and students to review the new Guidelines for registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses before they take effect on 6 July 2020.

The Board’s guidelines are for practitioners and students who perform exposure-prone procedures and registered health practitioners who are treating registered health practitioners or students living with a blood-borne virus who perform exposure-prone procedures.

 

 

 

Changes to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Distribution

SHINE SA,  

SHINE SA will now temporarily provide a full 28-day supply of Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) medication in place of the usual five-day starter pack. This measure has been put in place with the assistance of SA Health to help limit movement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, clients received a five-day HIV PEP starter pack and then the remaining medication after a follow-up appointment. Clients can now call SHINE SA for a telehealth appointment where our team will guide clients through the process including supply of the medications and blood tests. Follow-up care arrangements will remain in place.

What is PEP?

PEP is a four week long course of medication taken to reduce the risk of HIV infection. It needs to be initiated within 72 hours of possible contact with HIV in order to help prevent the chance of infection. Exposure can occur through unprotected sex or the sharing of needles and other injection equipment.

It’s important that PEP is accessed as soon as possible after you think you may been exposed to HIV. If you are outside of the time-frame you can still contact your local GP or SHINE SA for further assistance.

What are the most common reasons for needing PEP?

  • Sex without a condom or sex where a condom broke or slipped off, with a person who has, or might have, HIV.
  • Sharing needles or syringes with a person who has, or might have, HIV.

How can I find out more?

  • The PEP Hotline is available 24 hours a day on 1800 022 026. The Registered Nurse on the PEP hotline will help assess your needs and indicate where to access PEP near you.
  • To speak to SHINE SA about accessing PEP call 8300 5300.
  • To learn more about PEP you can visit the SAMESH website or call 7099 5300.

From: https://www.shinesa.org.au/changes-to-pep/

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.

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.

Sex Work & COVID-19: Guidelines for Sex Workers, Clients, Third Parties, and Allies

Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network and Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a lot of stress and panic, but sex workers are and always have been resourceful and resilient.  We are experts in keeping ourselves and our communities safe. We’ve been doing it for decades! We would like to share our wisdom and learn from each other on how to overcome this current challenge.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed many sex workers in a particularly difficult situation. While social distancing is strongly advised, it is particularly challenging for contact sex workers (full service workers, strippers, massage workers, professional dominants, etc), queer and trans sex workers, Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) workers at the margins, and otherwise low-income workers to adhere to these
recommendations. We recognize that many sex workers will need to go about their
business as usual. That is the reality of surviving in a capitalist society while enduring
criminalization and stigmatization.

This document follows a harm reduction approach, offering guidelines from various sources to help lower the risk of contact and transmission to those who must continue in-person sex working.

Knowing that each sex worker’s work is unique, we encourage each of our community members to know how transmission occurs, how that fits with your individual work, and what decisions can be made for your specific situation to reduce as many risks as possible for yourself and others.

We have also included guidelines for clients, third parties, allies, and healthcare providers on how to best support sex workers during this time.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), HIV & hepatitis C: What you need to know

CATIE (Canada), 17 March 2020

  • An HIV-positive person on effective treatment is not expected to be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19
  • A person with untreated HIV or a low CD4+ cell count may be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19
  • People with HIV or hepatitis C are more likely to have other conditions that carry a greater risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19