STI’S on the rise in SA – free campaign resources (SHINE SA media release)

SHINE SA, April 2, 2019

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates are on the rise in South Australia, with around 1 in 20 young people infected with chlamydia¹. Left untreated chlamydia can lead to infection of the reproductive systems and long term consequences. Having one STI also increases the risk of being infected with another. As such it’s important that young people in SA are encouraged to practise safer sex as well as getting a sexual health check.

In response to this rise in STIs, SHINE SA is excited to announce the launch of their Sexual Health Check campaign and related resources for use across South Australia. These resources can be used by organisations including universities, secondary schools, youth services, general practice and community health services.

The Sexual Health Check campaign aims to raise awareness of STIs as well as highlight how easy it is to get a sexual health check.
According to the most recent epidemiological report released by SA Health in 2017, STI and blood borne viruses (BBVs) have jumped 14% compared to the previous five years.

In 2017:

  • there were 8,181 new infections of STIs and BBVs, this is a 7% increase compared to 2016
  • 77% of infections were in people aged 15 to 29 years.

SHINE SA encourages young people to receive a sexual health check at a SHINE SA clinic, their local doctor or Aboriginal Health service. SHINE SA offers FREE sexual health checks as well as counselling to South Australians under the age of 30 with a Medicare Card.

Dr Amy Moten, SHINE SA’s Coordinator of Medical Education said:
“STIs are on the rise, so practicing safer sex and having regular testing is vital. Left untreated, serious infection may occur and lead to complications such as infertility, chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy. As most people don’t have any symptoms, lack of testing contributes to the continued spread of the disease”.

SHINE SA hopes other health and education organisations and media outlets can assist by promoting and sharing the Sexual Health Check campaign. By doing so we can help raise awareness of STIs in the community and encourage young people to access sexual heath checks.

  • The free campaign resources including a Sexual Health + STIs FAQ booklet, posters and social media tiles can be downloaded here
  • For further information contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development, by email here 
  • Download this media release

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¹ http://www.sti.guidelines.org.au/populations-and-situations/young-people

 

 

Are We Blinded by Desire? Relationship Motivation and Sexual Risk-Taking Intentions during Condom Negotiation

The Journal of Sex Research, Shayna Skakoon-Sparling & Kenneth M. Cramer (2019) DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2019.1579888

ABSTRACT

Effective condom negotiation skills support better sexual health for both men and women. The current study explored relationship motivation (motivation to establish and maintain long-term romantic relationships), gender, and sexual orientation as factors influencing the condom negotiation process.

Participants (177 heterosexual women, 157 heterosexual men, and 106 men who have sex with men) read a vignette describing an encounter with a hypothetical new sexual/romantic partner and responded to embedded items and scales.

Stronger relationship motivation predicted increased willingness to have condomless sex among women who perceived greater familiarity with the hypothetical partner. Gender and sexual orientation predicted different preferences for condom insistence strategies.

The findings suggest that there are a number of conditions that make it more difficult to recognize risk during a sexual encounter and demonstrate how the process of condom negotiation can be impacted by gender, sexual orientation, and relationship motivation.

Giving gay men self-test kits increases HIV testing by 50% – but STI tests decrease

aidsmap/nam, 21 August 2018

Gay men who were offered HIV home-testing kits took 50% more tests than men who only took HIV tests at clinics or community organisations, a randomised controlled study from Seattle in the USA has found.

The men who could self-test took fewer tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), though it is not completely clear whether this was because they went less often for STI checkups or had fewer STI symptoms.

 

Exploring HIV risks, testing and prevention among sub-Saharan African community members in Australia

International Journal for Equity in Health, 2018, 17:62

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0772-6

Abstract

Background

Significant health disparities persist regarding new and late HIV diagnoses among sub-Saharan African (SSA) communities in Australia. Personal/cultural beliefs and practices influence HIV (risk, prevention, testing) within Australia and during visits to home countries.

Method

A community forum was conducted involving 23 male and female adult African community workers, members and leaders, and health workers; facilitated by cultural workers and an experienced clinician/researcher. The forum comprised small/large group discussions regarding HIV risk/prevention (responses transcribed verbatim; utilising thematic analysis).

Results

Stigma, denial, social norms, tradition and culture permeated perceptions/beliefs regarding HIV testing, prevention and transmission among African Australians, particularly regarding return travel to home countries.

Conclusions

International travel as a risk factor for HIV acquisition requires further examination, as does the role of the doctor in HIV testing and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Further assessment of PrEP as an appropriate/feasible intervention is needed, with careful attention regarding negative community perceptions and potential impacts.

Red Book: STI & BBV resources for sex workers by sex workers

Scarlet Alliance, 2018 online edition

This web resource is a community driven project, which has incorporated the efforts of sex workers, peer educators, sex worker organisations, community organisations and health professionals across Australia. It is made by sex workers, for sex workers.

Much of the content builds on The Scarlet Alliance STI Handbook: A Reference Guide for Sex Workers to Sexually Transmissible Infection [Red Book (2009)]. Red Book is a sex worker resource by and for sex workers that was first developed in 1998 with updates in 2003 and 2009. Many sex workers would be familiar with the pocket sized Red Book that sex worker organisations have been handing out on outreach to sex worker workplaces for many years.

Sex worker resources by and for sex workers is best practice in assisting sex workers in implementing harm reduction strategies in our workplaces. The STI and BBV information provided has been checked by medical professionals and all content has gone through various consultation processes with sex workers to ensure the content in Red Book is accurate, relevant and reflects our diverse experiences, identities, contexts and needs.

Contents:

Exploring psychosocial predictors of STI testing in University students

BMC Public Health, 2018 18:664, Published: 29 May 2018

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5587-2

Abstract:

Background

To explore university students’ Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing knowledge, psychosocial and demographic predictors of past STI testing behaviour, intentions to have an STI test, and high risk sexual behaviour, to inform interventions promoting STI testing in this population.

Methods

A cross-sectional, quantitative online survey was conducted in March 2016, recruiting university students from North East Scotland via an all-student email. The anonymous questionnaire assessed student demographics (e.g. sex, ethnicity, age), STI testing behaviours, sexual risk behaviours, knowledge and five psychological constructs thought to be predictive of STI testing from theory and past research: attitudes, perceived susceptibility to STIs, social norms, social fear and self-efficacy.

Results

The sample contained 1294 sexually active students (response rate 10%) aged 18–63, mean age = 23.61 (SD 6.39), 888 (69%) were female. Amongst participants, knowledge of STIs and testing was relatively high, and students held generally favourable attitudes. 52% reported ever having an STI test, 13% intended to have one in the next month; 16% reported unprotected sex with more than one ‘casual’ partner in the last six months. Being female, older, a postgraduate, longer UK residence, STI knowledge, perceived susceptibility, subjective norms, attitudes and self-efficacy all positively predicted past STI testing behaviour (p < 0.01). Perceived susceptibility to STIs and social norms positively predicted intentions to have an STI test in the next month (p  < 0.05); perceived susceptibility also predicted past high-risk sexual behaviour (p < 0.01).

Conclusions

Several psychosocial predictors of past STI testing, of high-risk sexual behaviour and future STI intentions were identified. Health promotion STI testing interventions could focus on male students and target knowledge, attitude change, and increasing perceived susceptibility to STIs, social norms and self-efficacy towards STI-testing.