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.

Update on COVID-19 for PLHIV

SAMESH, March 19, 2020

SAMESH, SHINE SA, and Thorne Harbour Health are encouraging people living with HIV (PLHIV) to take additional precautions in the face of the changing landscape around 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

We want to ensure the ongoing health and wellbeing of all PLHIV who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. This means minimising the risk of exposure to the virus.

While everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19, the consequences of infection are more severe for some vulnerable groups. This includes PLHIV who are:

  • Aged over 60 years old
  • Living with a detectable viral load or a CD4 count below 500
  • Diabetic
  • Smokers
  • Living with hepatitis B or C
  • Living with a comorbidity such as heart or lung issues

Those PLHIV on treatment with an undetectable viral load (and no other significant health condition) are at no greater risk of serious health consequences due to COVID-19 than the general population. That being said, they should still take the advice of the health department in exercising precautions such as handwashing, working from home where possible, limiting time on public transport, and avoiding large groups or crowded areas.

Those PLHIV who fall into one of the vulnerable groups listed above should limit contact with others to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.

If you are living with HIV and are concerned you might be at risk, you should:

  • Maintain regularly scheduled medical appointments, but consider asking your doctor about telehealth consultations
  • Ensure you have between 1-3 month supply of any medications you currently take
  • Avoid stockpiling medications beyond a 1-3 month supply as this could cause unnecessary shortages
  • Be wary of advice or articles in social media — do not modify the medications you currently take without first consulting your doctor
  • Contact your doctor about getting vaccinations for influenza and pneumococcal when available
  • Keep in touch with friends, colleagues, and family via phone calls and video chat — consider scheduling regular catch ups
  • Stay in touch – our organisations will continue to release more information and resources as the situation continues to evolve

This public health issue can be stressful, but our communities have a long history of staying informed and collective action to ensure we look after our health as well as the wellbeing of those around us. Let’s keep this legacy going as we look after ourselves and those around us

Crystal Clear: Forum & Podcast Launch

SAMESH, 25/11/2019

Join our panel of researchers, health care workers, community members and psychologists as they delve into the issues of crystal use among gay men and men who have sex with men.

No photo description available.

Following the Crystal Pleasures study into methamphetamine use in gay men and men who have sex with men, CSRH has produced a series of podcasts discussing this issue at length from a variety of viewpoints, including interviews with people who use crystal, and health care professionals who work in these communities.

Panellists:
– Kerryn Drysdale – Research Fellow, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW
– Dr. Carole Khaw – Consultant Sexual Health Physician, Adelaide Sexual Health Centre
– Travis Atkinson – SAMESH Peer Educator
– Jack O’Connor – Social Worker, Drug & Alcohol Services South Australia
– Gary Spence – Health Educator, Hepatitis SA

When: Monday 2nd December 2019, 6:30 PM

Where: SHINE SA, 57 Hyde Street, Adelaide

Cost: FREE

SHINE SA Media Release: World AIDS Day – Every Journey Counts

World AIDS Day is marked on 1 December each year, to raise awareness across the world and in the community about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. It is a day to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate loved ones who we have lost to the epidemic.

The day also aims to encourage Australians to educate themselves and others about HIV and to ensure that people living with HIV can participate fully in the life of the community, free from stigma and discrimination.

HIV still exists in Australia and can affect anyone. While there is still no vaccine or cure for HIV, there are now highly effective treatments and prevention options. People with HIV can take medications on a daily basis to maintain their HIV at an undetectable level and to keep them healthy. Today, HIV is considered a chronic but manageable condition, and people with HIV can lead long and healthy lives, with a similar life expectancy to a person who does not have HIV.

Natasha Miliotis, SHINE SA’s Chief Executive Officer said that:

“Like many other conditions, HIV can be prevented. By being informed about what HIV is and how it can be transmitted, we can take measures to look after ourselves and others.”

SHINE SA encourages people looking to test for or talk about HIV to visit one of our clinics, or contact SAMESH, a collaborative program of Thorne Harbour Health and SHINE SA.

You can show your support for people with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support. You can also find a World AIDS Day event near you by visiting www.worldaidsday.org.au.

To read SHINE SA’s Fact Sheet on HIV visit: www.shinesa.org.au/health-information/sexually-transmitted-infections/hiv/

For further information and media enquiries contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development 

The SAMESH Hypothetical: Loose Talk in Public Places (free event)

SAMESH, 29/10/2019

The SAMESH Hypothetical brings together comedians, politicians, community members and other public figures for a night of wild and truly hypothetical musings on a range of topics that while completely outlandish are not too far from what we see in daily life.                                                

Our panellists will weave their way through a series of knotty issues,
led by our talented moderator Dean Arcuri.

Don’t miss this one night show, tickets are FREE but bookings essential!

WHERE

Elder Hall, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide

WHEN

Wed 20th Nov, 7:00pm

TICKETS

Free (bookings essential)

DURATION

1.5 hours

ACCESS

Wheelchair accessible

AGES

All ages

 

Hyde Street Practice: a service of SHINE SA

SHINE SA, September 2019

Hyde Street Practice is a service of SHINE SA. We offer affordable appointments with friendly and non-judgemental staff.

We are a safe and inclusive practice with general practitioners, specialist services, sexual health and relationship wellbeing services.

Services include:

  • General Practitioners

General GP services, including support for diabetes and cardiovascular health, Pre and post exposure HIV prevention (PEP and PrEP), HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C prescribing, STI testing and management

  • Sexual Health Services

SHINE SA sexual health services including contraception, STI testing and management, HIV, PEP & PrEP

  • Sexual Health Physician

A private specialist sexual health and HIV service available by referral

HIV, sexual health, PEP & PrEP, hepatitis C, transgender medicine, LGBTI health

  • Rapido – Rapid HIV Testing

Walk in and Wait service, peer led with results in 20 minutes

  • Psychologist and Counselling

General psychological services and sexual health counselling

  • Gender Wellbeing Service

Professional, peer support and information services for people who are questioning their gender or who identify as trans or gender diverse

  • SAMESH

Support services for gay men, MSM (men who have sex with men), trans men and people living with HIV and people at risk of HIV and STIs, health promotion and education

  • Bobby Goldsmith Foundation

Financial assistance for health related issues to people living with HIV on low incomes

Details:

57 Hyde Street, Adelaide
Call 7099 5320
Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fees available on hydestreet.com.au
To make an appointment visit
www.hydestreet.com.au

or call 7099 5320

Rapido – Rapid HIV Testing
Mondays 3:00 – 6:00 pm
(except Public Holidays)

Sexual Health Service
Walk in and Wait
Fridays 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Clean Needle Program
Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm