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.

Early medical abortion: reflections on current practice

O&G Magazine (RANZCOG), by Dr Lisa Rasmussen

In the last 30 years, medical abortion has globally become an established, safe and straightforward method for pregnancies of less than nine weeks gestation. It is now recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as the method of choice for women up to nine weeks gestation.

The reality of providing medical abortion for women, however, is a more complex matter. Abortion services are contextualised by the specific and, at times, changing abortion laws in each country and state. These laws, in turn, are determined and maintained by each jurisdiction’s specific gendered social and political histories, practices and attitudes.

In Australia and New Zealand, this context continues to affect who can provide medical abortions, the models of care adopted, the ongoing struggle to provide affordable and accessible care to all women, and the level to which medical abortion is accepted as a normal and important part of women’s healthcare.

Within the context of these histories and challenges, this article will attempt to guide you through the process of providing a medical abortion as a health practitioner.

Sexual minority women face barriers to health care

The Conversation, October 23, 2019 9.25pm AEDT

Stigma and discrimination are common experiences that people who identify as LGBT or sexual minority face when accessing health services. One report found that one in seven LGBT people in the UK avoided seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from staff. As many as one in four also experienced negative remarks against LGBT people from healthcare staff.

 

Emergency contraception awareness in an at‐risk population

Hope, D. L., Hattingh, L. and King, M. A. (2019) J Pharm Pract Res. doi:10.1002/jppr.1554

Background

Consumer awareness of emergency contraception is generally poor. School leavers (schoolies) engage in risky behaviours, including casual sex and alcohol and drug consumption.

Aim

The aim of this study was to explore the awareness of an at‐risk population of schoolies regarding the use and availability of emergency contraception.

Methods

An electronic survey was self‐administered by participants using Wi‐Fi‐connected iPads at the Schoolies Wristband Distribution Centre, Surfers Paradise, on the first day of Queensland Schoolies Week, November 2017. Outcomes measured were awareness of the availability of emergency contraception from a pharmacy, maximum time for effective use following unprotected intercourse and whether emergency contraception is harmful to the health of the user.

Results

Schoolies completed 498 valid surveys. Most (83.5%) were aged 17 years and 50.8% were aware that emergency contraception is available from community pharmacies with prescription and 36.7% were aware that it is available without prescription; 18.5% were aware of the 72‐ or 120‐h effectiveness window and 38.0% agreed that it is not harmful. All questions were associated with considerable uncertainty. Females were 1.8‐ to 3.2‐fold more likely than males to provide an appropriate response to any emergency contraception statement.

Conclusion

Schoolies’ awareness of emergency contraception availability, effectiveness window and safety was low. At‐risk schoolies may not access emergency contraception when indicated due to fear of harm, uncertainty about its effectiveness window or a lack of knowledge about timely non‐prescription access from community pharmacies. Targeted education may improve current knowledge gaps. The misnomer ‘morning‐after pill’ should be abandoned for the clinically appropriate term ‘emergency contraception.

 

UNESCO paper busts myths about comprehensive sexuality education

UNESCO, 2019

Comprehensive sexuality education is an essential part of a good quality education that improves sexual and reproductive health, argues Facing the Facts, a new policy paper by the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report at UNESCO that seeks to dispel social and political resistance to sexuality education in many countries.

Globally, each year, 15 million girls marry before the age of 18, some 16 million 15-19 year olds and one million girls under 15 give birth. Young people moreover account for a third of new HIV infections among adults and across 37 low and middle-income countries, yet only approximately one third of people aged 15-24 years have comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission.

Migrant women’s groups commend voting down of ‘racist’ amendment to NSW abortion bill

SBS, 19th September 2019

Groups representing migrant women in Australia have praised the voting down of a controversial amendment to NSW’s proposed abortion bill that would have explicitly banned abortions on the basis of gender selection.

The amendment had been labelled “racist” and a “dog-whistle” on the basis it specifically targeted Indian and Chinese communities as responsible for using abortion as a means of gender selection in a bid to have male children.

A joint statement released ahead of the debate on Wednesday, signed by six advocacy groups for multicultural women, said the proposed amendment risked “introducing racial profiling and amplifying discrimination in our healthcare system”.