SHINE SA media release: CONTRACEPTION IS ESSENTIAL IN PREVENTING RISE IN UNINTENDED PREGNANCY DURING COVID-19

SHINE SA Media Release: 2 April 2020

Sexual and reproductive health must remain at the forefront of our minds during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is possible that throughout this crisis we may see a rise in unintended pregnancy as well as incidences of domestic violence, sexual violence and sexual coercion.  Unfortunately this could come at a time where our health systems are focused on the prevention and management of the pandemic itself. In addition to general sexual health services, access to pregnancy options including abortion may be impacted over the next 6 months.

Unintended pregnancy rates are already high in Australia. It is estimated that half of all pregnancies are unplanned. It is possible that self-isolation/quarantine measures could see an increase in unprotected sexual activity without reliable forms of contraception. These circumstances may contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in an environment where support systems and personal wellbeing have been affected.

SHINE SA asks that people consider all of their contraceptive choices at this time. This includes long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) options, especially if they do not wish to become pregnant in the near future. These options can be discussed with a general practitioner.

It’s also important that people are aware that they can access the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) from community pharmacies. Oral emergency contraception is effective up to 120 hours after unprotected sex but the sooner it is taken, the greater the effectiveness.

  • South Australians looking for advice on any sexual health issue including contraception and unintended pregnancy can call SHINE SA’s Sexual Healthline.
    This is a free and confidential service provided by SHINE SA’s sexual health nurses. Call: 1300 883 793; Toll free: 1800 188 171 (country callers only).
    The Sexual Healthline is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 12:30pm.
  • Australians can also call 1800 RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and information referral service. This service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service is a South Australian service for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. Call 8226 8777 or visit the Yarrow Place website for more information.
  • Visit the SHINE SA website for more information on Emergency ContraceptionChoices in Contraception and Safer Sex.
  • Download this Media Release.

SHINE SA a signatory to the South Australian joint statement against the Religious Discrimination Bill

February 27th, 2020

We the undersigned represent a range of researchers, community service organisations and advocacy groups that support communities throughout South Australia. We are united in our concerns about the draft Religious Discrimination Bill and its potential to cause harm to the communities we serve.

We respect the diversity of Australia and celebrate the multitude of beliefs, identities and cultures that co-exist within our society. We likewise celebrate the various faiths throughout Australia and value the ability for such diverse communities to exist media rpeacefully with one another.

While we respect the Government’s intent to craft a Religious Discrimination Bill that will protect religious Australians from being discriminated against, we are deeply concerned that the current Bill goes too far. Anti-discrimination legislation should protect people from being discriminated against, but this Bill will allow religious Australians, and religious organisations, to discriminate against people who are different from them.

All Australians should be protected equally by the law, regardless of who they are or what they believe. It is for this reason that we call on the Government to reconsider this Bill to ensure that any legislation that is passed protects all of us from discrimination rather than handing some Australians a license to discriminate against others.
For the sake of Australia’s harmonious diversity, we ask all Federal politicians to stand with us in finding a better way forward.

Signed by:

• Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch)
• Child and Family Focus SA
• COTA SA
• Justice for Refugees SA
• Public Law and Policy Research Unit
• SA Lived Experience Leadership & Advocacy Network (LELAN)
• SA Unions
• SHINE SA
• SOS Copper Coast Suicide Prevention Network
• South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS)
• South Australian Network of Drug & Alcohol Services (SANDAS)
• South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA)
• St John’s Youth Services
• Youth Affairs Council of South Australia (YACSA)

“SARAA believes in an Australia free from discrimination, but the Religious Discrimination Bill won’t accomplish this. The law should protect people from discrimination, not give a right to discriminate. LGBTIQ South Australians have been clear that they don’t support the current Bill and SARAA is pleased to see so many other organisations taking a stand against it, too. We know this Bill will harm many sections of Australian society and we hope the government will listen to our concerns to find a better way forward.”

– Matthew Morris, Chair, South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance 

“Fourteen community organisations and research groups have come together through the Rights Resource Network SA to raise their voice about the impact of the draft Religious Discrimination Bill on the lives of South Australians.  We have our own system of equal opportunity laws in this state that businesses, community organisations and individuals comply with and rely upon.  They are not perfect, but they don’t deserve to be overridden by proposed federal laws that will elevate the rights of some over the rights of others.  Rather than go ahead with this legally complex and divisive proposal, these thirteen diverse organisations urge the Federal Government start again when it comes to designing legal protections against religious discrimination.  We urge South Australian federal and state Members of Parliament to listen to the concerns of their constituents when it comes to responding to this draft Bill.”

Dr Sarah Moulds, Co-Founder, Rights Resource Network SA and Senior Lecturer in Law the University of South Australia

“There are already a range of existing federal and state laws specifically designed to eliminate discrimination – particularly when it comes to employment. This legislation will create enormous uncertainty about the operation of these laws and will also introduce a considerable compliance burden for all businesses including community sector organisations. SACOSS believes it would be preferable to address any concerns about securing “religious freedoms” using the same framework established in existing discrimination laws.  If not, then one of the best ways we to protect crucial human rights and freedoms would be through the development of a national Bill/Charter of Rights. It is absolutely imperative this proposed Bill is either voted down or properly amended to ensure key issues are addressed so that harmonious and co-operative Australian workplaces are not compromised and that all Australians have their rights enabled.”

– Ross Womersley, CEO of the South Australian Council of Social Service 

“The Religious Discrimination Bill does nothing to improve protections against discrimination on the grounds of religion. In fact, it makes the situation worse for tens of thousands of South Australian workers in religious aged care facilities, hospitals, accommodation providers, educational bodies, and charitable institutions. Not only are those workers expressly excluded from the Bill’s protection, but discrimination against them based on their personal religious belief or activity is specifically permitted and encouraged by the Bill. In addition, all workers in the public sector are completely excluded from protections. The Bill will create a risk of increased confusion, conflict, uncertainty and harm in Australian workplaces and should not be passed in its current form.”

Angas Story, Secretary SA Unions

 

Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia

Ziersch, A., Due, C. & Walsh, M. Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia. BMC Public Health 20108 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8068-3

Abstract

Background

Research has shown that discrimination is harmful to health, but there is relatively little known about discrimination experienced by people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in resettlement countries and associated health effects. This qualitative-focused mixed methods paper reports on discrimination experienced by refugees and asylum seekers, responses to discrimination, and impacts on health.

Methods

As part of a broader study of housing, social inclusion and health, surveys were completed by 423 adult refugees and asylum seekers living in South Australia who had been in Australia for up to 7 years. The survey included questions on discrimination based on skin colour, ethnicity and religion, as well as questions on hope, trust, belonging, sense of control and health (including the SF-8). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 65 survey participants, purposively sampled by visa status, continent and gender, further exploring experiences of discrimination. These and survey open-ended responses were analysed thematically.

Results

Twenty-two percent of survey participants reported experiences of discrimination since arriving in Australia (14% in the last year), and 90% of these felt that discrimination had harmed their health. Key settings of discrimination were public transport, within the neighbourhood, and in relation to employment. Those who reported discrimination had significantly worse mental health (p < .000) but not physical health. Discrimination was also associated with less sense of belonging (p = .001), lower levels of trust (p = .038), reduced sense of control (p = .012) and less hope (p = .006). Incidents described in interviews and the open-ended survey responses included incivility, physical assault, and denial of services, experienced across intersecting characteristics of race/ethnicity, religion, gender and visa status. Responses to discrimination spanned affective, cognitive and behavioural dimensions, ranging across types of experience, participant characteristics and context, with most individuals reporting multiple response types. While some of the responses were reported by participants as protective of health, participants’ reflections indicated significant negative impacts on mental health in particular.

Conclusion

Discrimination featured in the resettlement experiences of a significant number of refugees and asylum seekers, with participants reporting clear negative impacts on mental health. Addressing discrimination is a key resettlement and health issue requiring urgent action.

Let’s Celebrate Safer Sex this National Condom Day (SHINE SA Media Release)

SHINE SA, 11 February 2020

Forget Valentine’s Day, there’s a new romantic day occupying February 14: National Condom Day! With only 36% of young South Australians always using a condom during casual sex, it’s no surprise that STI rates are on the rise. Like an elusive Valentine’s partner, many STIs are hidden. Around 70% of people with chlamydia have no symptoms, going unnoticed while being transmitted to others.

So what could be more romantic than preventing the unintended consequences of unprotected sex? Show some romance by taking advantage of how easy it is to get your hands on a condom. Condoms are widely available, don’t require a prescription and can even be found for free at SHINE SA clinics. SHINE SA encourages all young people to take steps to engage in safer sex. This means always having a condom handy, making time for that discussion with your partner/s, ensuring you have informed and enthusiastic consent and getting regular sexual health checks either through a GP or at a SHINE SA clinic.

Natasha Miliotis SHINE SA’s Chief Executive said:

“National Condom Day is a great reminder to take control of our own sexual health. Through the use of condoms and regular testing, STIs are preventable.”

For more information on the sexual health of young people in South Australia see: www.sahmri.org/aboriginal-health-equity-theme/news-270/

Want to learn more about safer sex? To mark National Condom Day SHINE SA have released the Safer Sex – Use a Condom campaign. The campaign highlights the importance of condoms and the concepts of safety, pleasure and respect for a safer sex life. View the campaign here: www.shinesa.org.au/safersex

For further information and media enquiries see media release for contacts:

 

Free Online Recordings for Health Professionals: Andrology and Sexual Health

SHINE SA, January 2020

SHINE SA have made select online recordings available from our Andrology and Sexual Health Update Day event in 2019. These recordings will be beneficial to health professionals looking to brush up on their knowledge of andrology and sexual health.

The online recordings available cover topics including sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain, PrEP and PEP, chemsex, androgen deficiency, gender affirming care and the SA syphilis outbreak.

All recording are available free of charge.

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