Disparities in characteristics in accessing public Australian sexual health services between Medicare‐eligible and Medicare‐ineligible MSM

Disparities in characteristics in accessing public Australian sexual health services between Medicare‐eligible and Medicare‐ineligible men who have sex with men

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Anysha M. Walia, Christopher K. Fairley, Catriona S. Bradshaw, Marcus Y. Chen, Eric P.F. Chow

First published: 31 August 2020
https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.13029
Abstract:

Objectives: Accessible health services are a key element of effective human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) control. This study aimed to examine whether there were any differences in accessing sexual health services between Medicare‐eligible and Medicare‐ineligible men who have sex with men (MSM) in Melbourne, Australia.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective, cross‐sectional study of MSM attending Melbourne Sexual Health Centre between 2016 and 2019. Demographic characteristics, sexual practices, HIV testing practices and STI diagnoses were compared between Medicare‐eligible and Medicare‐ineligible MSM.

Results: We included 5,085 Medicare‐eligible and 2,786 Medicare‐ineligible MSM. Condomless anal sex in the past 12 months was more common in Medicare‐eligible compared to Medicare‐ineligible MSM (74.4% vs. 64.9%; p<0.001) although the number of partners did not differ between groups. There was no difference in prior HIV testing practices between Medicare‐eligible and Medicare‐ineligible MSM (76.1% vs. 77.7%; p=0.122). Medicare‐ineligible MSM were more likely to have anorectal chlamydia compared to Medicare‐eligible MSM (10.6% vs. 8.5%; p=0.004).

Conclusions: Medicare‐ineligible MSM have less condomless sex but a higher rate of anorectal chlamydia, suggesting they might have limited access to STI testing or may be less willing to disclose high‐risk behaviour.

Implications for public health: Scaling up access to HIV and STI testings for Medicare‐ineligible MSM is essential.

Flux Study COVID-19 Diary Recruitment and Report

Kirby Institute, UNSW, July 2020

Social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19 may affect how gay and bisexual men are arranging their sex lives and taking care of their health. And this will likely also affect trends in HIV infection and STIs over coming months, or even years. Monitoring the impact of COVID-19, before, during, and after the pandemic, is essential to understanding and responding to trends in HIV infection, mental health, and STIs.

​This study investigating the lived experiences of COVID-19 among gay and bisexual men including isolation, support, mental health and resilience, income loss, and access to health services. We will address how gay and bisexual men experience, engage with, and emerge from, COVID-19.

What does participation in this research require? 

If you decide to take part in this study, we will ask you to do the following:

  1. Your first questionnaire: This questionnaire collects information about you and your previous experiences.

  2. Weekly diary: After completing the your first survey, you will be asked to complete a 5-minute diary each Sunday.

What’s in it for you? 

We value our participants! To show our appreciation, for every survey you complete, you’ll automatically go in a raffle to win prizes in the form of gift cards to the value of $200.

Links

Lastest Gay Community Periodic Survey for Adelaide released

Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, June 2019

Gay Community Periodic Survey: Adelaide 2018

Authors: Broady, T., Mao, L., Bavinton, B., Jeffries, D., Bartlett, S., Calabretto, H., Narciso, L., Prestage, G., & Holt.

The Adelaide Gay Community Periodic Survey is a cross-sectional survey of gay and homosexually active men recruited at a range of gay community sites in Adelaide, and online throughout South Australia. The major aim of the survey is to provide data on sexual, drug use, and testing practices related to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs) among gay men. The most recent survey, the twelfth in South Australia, was conducted in November and December 2018 to coincide with the Adelaide Feast Festival.

Key points

– The proportion of men who reported ever having been tested for HIV increased from 83% in 2011 to 87% in 2018.

– The percentage of non-HIV-positive men who reported testing for HIV in the 12 months prior to the survey remained stable (and was reported by 71% in 2018), although the percentage reporting three or more HIV tests in the previous year increased (from 11% in 2014 to 22% in 2018).

– The use of HIV treatment by HIV-positive men has remained stable over time (and was reported by 93% of HIV-positive men in 2018). The percentage of men on antiretroviral treatment who reported an undetectable viral load also remained stable (reported by 94% in 2018).

Mobile phone apps remained the most common way that men met male sex partners, reported by 44% in 2018.

– The proportion of men with regular male partners reporting condomless anal intercourse with those partners (CAIR) increased from 55% in 2011 to 65% in 2018.

– The proportion of men with casual male partners reporting condomless anal intercourse with those partners (CAIC) increased from 38% in 2011 to 51% in 2018.

– Most of the recent increase in CAIC appears to be attributable to the growing proportion of HIV-negative men using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

STI testing among HIV-negative men has remained stable over time, with 74% reporting any STI test in the year prior to the 2018 survey. The proportion of HIV-positive men reporting any STI test in the previous year decreased from 91% in 2011 to 72% in 2018.

Use of PrEP increased between 2014 and 2018 from 1% to 16% of non-HIV-positive men.