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.

Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant and Refugee Women and Children Experiencing DFV

Women’s Safety NSW, Published: July 31, 2020

Whilst research on the prevalence of violence against migrant and refugee women is limited, what is known is that cultural, language and systemic barriers serve to reduce access to safety and support for this group of women, and they are at higher risk of domestic homicide. (AIC 2020)

This also corresponds with lower rates of reporting amongst migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic and family violence, as distrust for authorities, limited knowledge of rights and services and concerns about both material and cultural ramifications can serve as insurmountable barriers to accessing the supports needed. (AIFS 2018)

What has not yet been investigated is the specific impact of COVID-19 on migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic and family violence. This report from Women’s Safety NSW offers the experiences and professional observations of multicultural domestic and family violence specialists supporting hundreds of these very women at this critical time. What they’ve reported is that migrant and refugee women who are experiencing domestic and family violence are at higher risk than they have ever been before and that urgent action is needed if we are going to save lives.

Tickets to the LGBTI Family Violence Forum available now (free online events)

Thorne Harbour Health, 22nd July 2020

Effecting Change and Accountability: Family Violence Interventions for LGBTI Communities: Monday 10th to Friday 14th August 2020

Since the release of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations in 2016, LGBTI family violence service providers and mainstream family violence services who are attaining rainbow tick accreditation have worked more deliberately to develop and sustain inclusive and informed responses to LGBTI people using or experiencing family violence.

This annual community-led forum offers a platform to LGBTI community organisations and allied organisations to present their work, share knowledge, skills and look at service areas that need further development. This forum will provide information, presentations, interactive workshops and networking opportunities for service providers and other professionals about family violence in LGBTI communities.

We invite practitioners and community advocates from family violence sector and LGBTI community sectors, allied health sector practitioners, policy writers, victim survivor advocates, community organisers and people who are committed to the work to end family violence and break down LGBTI stigma and discrimination, increase community connectedness, improve community awareness of the needs of LGBTI communities, as well as striving to remove barriers to LGBTI inclusion, celebration, and embracing diversity.

Tickets available now: 

Breaking the Binary Code: Celebrating gender and sexuality diversity

The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre (Victoria), 2020

Breaking the Binary Code: Celebrating gender and sexuality diversity, challenging stereotypes and relationship expectations is a 18-month primary prevention of family violence project. 

The project has a strengths-based approach working with LGBTIQA+ young people, community and stakeholders.

It was led in partnership with The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre, Barwon Adolescent Taskforce (BATForce), City of Greater Geelong, and Creative Geelong Inc, funded by the Victorian State Government under the Free from Violence Fund.

Project Objectives:

  • support the community in increasing awareness and understanding of what a healthy, safe and respectful relationship looks like in a LGBTIQA+ relationship;
  • challenge images of gender, sexuality and expectations in relationships, that are portrayed through pornography and the online environment, and promote healthy, safe and respectful relationships that are free from violence;
  • develop key terms to include in a narrative that will support parents/carers in having conversations with young LGBTIQA+ people about the subject matter; and
  • challenge the binary constructs of women and men and provide supportive and inclusive language for young people exploring gender and sexuality.

The project will engage in activities including:

  • Consultation and engagement
  • Use of inclusive language about gender, sexuality and family violence.
  • Develop a creative resource to support discussion and conversation about gender and sexuality diversity and relationships that are free from violence.
  • Challenge society binary constructs of gender and sexuality through challenging images within social norms, stereotypes and media, and stereotypes and relationship expectations

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New service providing mental health support to people of CALD backgrounds

Relationships Australia South Australia, May 2020

ASKPEACE is available to provide mental health support to people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living in South Australia who have been impacted by COVID-19.

The ASK Peace Project will provide a virtual service based on counselling and case management, referrals, support and advocacy services to respond to the mental health and wellbeing of CALD individuals, families and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is not necessary to speak English to access this service.

You can refer your client to this service; they also accept self-referrals.

There is no cost for the service.

COVID-19 and viral hepatitis FAQs  in English, Korean, Chinese

Hepatitis NSW, May 2020

Since the COVID-19 virus is so new and can be life threatening, there are many unknown factors at play. This is even more so for people with pre-existing health conditions to consider. To help address those concerns and to answer the frequently asked questions, Hepatitis NSW has now compiled a number of online resources. 

All pages are based on the most up to date information and will be updated frequently.