People identifying as LGBTIQ and alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, last updated

Key Findings:

  • People identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual have relatively high rates of substance use. However, there is a lack of comprehensive data available on the associated harms for this population group.
  • Almost one in 5 (18.7%) people identifying as homosexual or bisexual reported daily tobacco smoking in 2016, comapred with 12% of heterosexual people.
  • Over a quarter (25.8%) of people identifying as homosexual or bisexual reported drinking at levels exceeding lifetime risk guidelines in 2016, compared with 17.2% of heterosexual people.
  • In 2016, 42% of people identifying as homosexual or bisexual reported drinking at levels exceeding single occasion risk guidelines, compared with 26% of heterosexual people.
  • In 2016, 41.7% of people identifying as homosexual or bisexual recently used any illicit drug, compared with 14.5% of heterosexual people.

More information is available in the People identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) fact sheet (PDF)

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.

Medical Board releases new guidelines for practitioners and students on blood-borne viruses

Medical Board of Australia, 23 Jun 2020

The Medical Board of Australia is encouraging practitioners and students to review the new Guidelines for registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses before they take effect on 6 July 2020.

The Board’s guidelines are for practitioners and students who perform exposure-prone procedures and registered health practitioners who are treating registered health practitioners or students living with a blood-borne virus who perform exposure-prone procedures.

 

 

 

Changes to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Distribution

SHINE SA,  

SHINE SA will now temporarily provide a full 28-day supply of Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) medication in place of the usual five-day starter pack. This measure has been put in place with the assistance of SA Health to help limit movement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, clients received a five-day HIV PEP starter pack and then the remaining medication after a follow-up appointment. Clients can now call SHINE SA for a telehealth appointment where our team will guide clients through the process including supply of the medications and blood tests. Follow-up care arrangements will remain in place.

What is PEP?

PEP is a four week long course of medication taken to reduce the risk of HIV infection. It needs to be initiated within 72 hours of possible contact with HIV in order to help prevent the chance of infection. Exposure can occur through unprotected sex or the sharing of needles and other injection equipment.

It’s important that PEP is accessed as soon as possible after you think you may been exposed to HIV. If you are outside of the time-frame you can still contact your local GP or SHINE SA for further assistance.

What are the most common reasons for needing PEP?

  • Sex without a condom or sex where a condom broke or slipped off, with a person who has, or might have, HIV.
  • Sharing needles or syringes with a person who has, or might have, HIV.

How can I find out more?

  • The PEP Hotline is available 24 hours a day on 1800 022 026. The Registered Nurse on the PEP hotline will help assess your needs and indicate where to access PEP near you.
  • To speak to SHINE SA about accessing PEP call 8300 5300.
  • To learn more about PEP you can visit the SAMESH website or call 7099 5300.

From: https://www.shinesa.org.au/changes-to-pep/

There are fears coronavirus is stopping Australia’s migrant women from accessing abortions

SBS News, 26th April 2020

Vulnerable pregnant women could lose access to abortion throughout Australia because of increased financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, reproductive health providers have warned. 

A combination of widespread job losses, differing abortion laws around the country, and patchy access to Medicare, could mean more women need financial assistance to terminate unwanted pregnancies or will face carrying their pregnancies to term.

Some providers even fear a return to people attempting unsafe abortions if women cannot afford legal terminations.

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.