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.

How the ‘National Cabinet of Whores’ is leading Australia’s coronavirus response for sex workers

Roxana Diamond in The Conversation, August 7, 2020 12.31pm AEST

This article has links that contain graphic content

Many industries and employees have been hurt by COVID-19. But sex workers, who face stigma and discrimination at the best of times, have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

The United Nations has warned,

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, sex workers all over the world are experiencing hardship, a total loss of income and increased discrimination and harassment.

As both a researcher in the area and sex worker myself, I have seen how sex workers have been an afterthought in Australia’s responses to COVID-19. And how it has been up to sex workers yet again to protect their community, underscoring the importance of decriminalising sex work.

Community Forum: Sex Work Decriminalisation (free online event)

Thorne Harbour Health, July 2020

A review into the decriminalisation of sex work in Victoria is currently underway. Join us to learn about sex work decriminalisation from an expert panel including representatives of the Scarlet Alliance, Sex Industry Network, Vixen Collective, SWOP NT and Respect QLD.

The event will feature presentations on the current regulatory framework in different Australian jurisdictions and the lived experiences of sex workers under the criminalised model, followed by a panel discussion covering issues such as licensing, mandatory STI testing, and recent reform efforts.

Forum date & time: Wed, 29 July 2020 at 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM ACST

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: 

Stigma towards people who inject drugs and sex workers prevalent, according to new Australian study

Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, July 2020

Priority groups at risk of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections are still likely to experience negative behaviour from the general public and in healthcare settings according to a recent report from the Stigma Indicators Monitoring Project.

86% of the general public sampled self-reported that they would behave negatively towards people who inject drugs to some extent, as did 56% of healthcare workers and 55% of healthcare students. Additionally, 64% of the general public, and 36% and 31% of healthcare workers and students respectively, self-reported likely negative behaviour (to some extent) towards sex workers.

 

 

Pride in Prevention: A guide to primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities.

Pride in Prevention Evidence Guide

Produced by Rainbow Health Victoria for the LGBTIQ Family Violence Prevention Project 2019–202, launched 30 Jun 2020

Authors: Marina Carman, Jackson Fairchild, Matthew Parsons, Claire Farrugia, Jennifer Power and Adam Bourne.

The Pride in Prevention Evidence Guide  is now available to download.

This project forges new ground in the primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities, seeking to address critical evidence gaps, strengthen understanding of the drivers of violence, and build expertise for both LGBTIQ organisations and family violence primary prevention organisations to effectively deliver evidence-based programs.