Sexual and reproductive health a COVID-19 priority (Statement)

Burnet Institute, 28 May, 2020

Burnet Institute is a member of a consortium of Australian-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academic institutes concerned about the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls globally.

The International Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Consortium, which includes Save the Children, Family Planning NSW, CARE Australia, The Nossal Institute for Global Health, and Médecins Sans Frontières Australia, is calling on the Australian Government to prioritise the needs of women and girls in its response to COVID-19.

Collectively, the consortium works across 160 countries to champion universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

It’s concerned that women and girls across the globe are struggling to access critical sexual and reproductive health care, citing evidence that COVID-19 lockdowns are likely to cause millions of unplanned pregnancies.

In the Pacific, travel to rural and remote areas have been curtailed, and physical distancing requirements have forced the cancellation of most group training on sexual and reproductive rights.

A recent UNFPA report determined that a six-month lockdown could mean 47 million women and girls globally cannot access contraception, and seven million will become pregnant.

The consortium has issued a joint statement setting out priorities to ensure Australia’s global response to COVID-19 meets the critical needs of all women and girls, including:

  • Recognise and respond to the gendered impacts of the pandemic, and the increased risk to women and girls from gender-based violence and other harmful practices
  • Improve the supply of contraceptives and menstrual health products which are being impacted by the strain and disruption on global supply chains
  • Increase flexibility in delivering sexual and reproductive health services during lockdown using innovative health delivery models such as task-sharing, tele-health and pharmacy distribution
  • Support sexual and reproductive health workers and clinics to continue delivering services sagely with access to personal protective equipment as well as training on how to refer, test or diagnose COVID-19.

 

COVID-19 Impact and Response for Sex Workers

Scarlet Alliance, 2020

STATEMENT OF IMPACT

Sex workers throughout Australia have been devastatingly hit by the impact of coronavirus. As a workforce, sex workers are predominantly a mixture of precarious workers and the self-employed, being independent contractors who work in or for sex industry businesses, or sole traders who work independently for themselves. As such sex workers are particularly marginalised in terms of the impact of the coronavirus and many will still be excluded from the stimulus packages announced by the government.

While we welcome the announcement that from 27 April 2020 sole traders are included in the government’s Economic Response to the coronavirus, many sex workers will still be left without financial support.

Read more here

IDAHOBIT 2020: South Australian community event (free)

South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance and South Australian Department of Human Services, April 2020

17 May is IDAHOBIT – the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia. IDAHOBIT’s theme for 2020 is “Breaking the Silence”, and that’s precisely what we’re going to do!

Although we might not be able to meet together in person to recognise this important date due to COVID-19, the South Australian Department of Human Services and the South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance have joined together to host a special online event for the South Australian LGBTIQ+ community via Zoom.

Join us on Sunday 17 May for a Q&A session featuring LGBTIQ+ people from several diverse backgrounds as we discuss what “Breaking the Silence” means for our rainbow communities.

The Q&A session will feature:

  • Zac Cannell, TransMasc SA & transgender community leader
  • Sarah K Reece, LGBTIQ+ disability advocate
  • Neha MadhokDemocracy in Colour

We are also delighted to welcome Michelle Lensink MLC, Minister for Human Services, to speak with us at the event, as well as Jason Tuazon-McCheyne (founder of The Equality Project) to tell us about the Better Together LGBTIQ+ conference that is coming to Adelaide in 2021.

SARAA acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We also acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their continued connection to their lands throughout Australia.

FAQs

How can I submit a question for the Q&A session?

Questions can be submitted via Zoom during the event, or you can submit a question in advance by emailing chairsaraa@gmail.com

How do I join the webinar?

After registering on Eventbrite, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join the Zoom webinar. Simply follow the link provided and you’ll be able to join on 17 May.

Do I need to be part of the LGBTIQ+ community to attend?

Not at all! Allies are welcome to join us and learn more from our amazing speakers!

Porn use is up, thanks to the pandemic

The Conversation, 8th April 2020

Not all businesses are experiencing a downturn. The world’s largest pornography website, Pornhub, has reported large increases in traffic. In many regions, these spikes in use have occurred immediately after social distancing measures have been implemented.

Why are people viewing more pornography? I’m a professor of clinical psychology who researches pornography use. Based on a decade of work in this area, I have some ideas about this surge in online pornography’s popularity and how it might affect users in the long run.

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.

COVID-19: pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding – statements & guidance

Various sources, March 2020