Reports

HIV Futures 9 – A national survey of people living with HIV. As a part of a series of studies, HIV Futures 9 reports on quality of life among people living with HIV in Australia. Data was collected through a questionnaire with questions relating to quality of life, financial security, health, wellbeing, treatment, support, sex, relationships, HIV-related stigma, and ageing.

2018 Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey: Report of Findings. This survey was the largest study of trans and gender diverse people to have been conducted in Australia to date. The findings provide an overview of data collected via the inaugural Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey. The research has highlighted a specific need for attention to the sexual health and well-being of trans and gender diverse populations, including HIV and other STIs testing, treatment and prevention; access to gender affirming healthcare; and meaningful inclusion in sexual health related policy frameworks.

Podcasts

Crystal Clear. podcast about negotiating sexual pleasures as well as risk while using Crystal methamphetamine during sex. Crystal has particular impact on the gay community. This podcast draws on findings from a study by the University of New South Wales. The podcast currently has three episodes: 1. Crystal: The Beauty and the Trap; 2. Cultures of Care: Conversations with people who provide support to crystal users; 3. What workers say: Health care professionals engaging gay and bisexual men using crystal for sex.

Journal Articles 

A systematic review of eHealth Interventions addressing HIV/STI prevention among men who have sex with men. This systematic review summarises and appraises the eHealth interventions addressing HIV & STI prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM). Findings suggest that eHealth intervention can achieve short-term behaviour change among MSM, however only one intervention could maintain behaviour change over 12 months. Innovative approaches and repeated ‘booster interventions’ (follow-up) are needed to maintain intervention effects. 

The effectiveness of social marketing interventions to improve HIV testing among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: a systematic review. This systematic review evaluated the effectiveness of mass media and communication interventions to increase HIV testing and explored patterns between study type, internal validity and intervention effectiveness. The review demonstrated a growing body of evidence for the effectiveness of social marketing and mass media interventions to increase HIV testing among gay and bisexual men (GBM). Further work is required to develop and evaluation interventions to increase frequency and maintenance of HIV testing.

A randomised controlled trial of a rapid re-housing intervention for homeless persons living with HIV/AIDS: Impact on Housing and HIV Medical Outcomes. 
This study recruited people living with HIV (PLWH) from HIV emergency housing in New York City and randomised them to: (1) Enhanced Housing Placement Assistance (EHPA) - immediate assignment to a case manager to rapidly re-house the client and provide 12 months of case management or (2) usual services, i.e., referral to an NYC housing placement program for which all HIV emergency housing residents were eligible.  Findings suggest EHPA clients were placed in stable housing faster than usual services clients, and twice as likely to achieve or maintain viral suppression. This study suggests rapid re-housing programs can impact housing and health outcomes among homeless populations.   

Culture, Health and Sexuality (Volume 21, Issue 9) 
Knowledge, attitudes and practices related to hepatitis C among gay and bisexual men in the era of direct-acting antivirals: implications for treatment and prevention. Using an online survey of GBM in Australia, this study found overall knowledge about hepatitis C (HCV) among participants was good (in the highest quartile), but there were also gaps, notably around the effectiveness of new HCV treatments and the increased risk of HCV acquisition for people living with HIV. These findings suggest the need for education about the specific risk of sexual transmission for men living with HIV, and the promotion of testing and treatment among GBM more broadly.

A qualitative study of heterosexual men’s attitudes towards and practices of receiving anal stimulation. This qualitative study interviewed male undergraduate university students and found participants discussed anal pleasure openly, did not stigmatise sexual pleasure derived from anal play and challenged cultural narratives that conflate anal receptivity with being gay. This study highlights how ignorance around the best practices for anal sex may impede pleasure and the further exploration of sexual pleasure.

What does inclusive sexual and reproductive healthcare look like for bisexual, pansexual and queer women? Findings from an exploratory study from Tasmania, Australia. This study draws on qualitative interviews with women and general practitioners and compare and contrasts their understandings and experiences of inclusive sexual and reproductive healthcare. Findings reveal that women value practitioners who take a non-judgemental approach, use inclusive language and are knowledgeable or willing to self-educate about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) issues. Practitioners describe prioritising visual indicators of inclusivity, using inclusive language and embracing professional development. The findings indicate a need for more resources and opportunities for professional development for improving awareness of inclusive sexual and reproductive health practices. 

Harm Reduction (Volume 16, 2019)
Perceived acceptability of and willingness to use syringe vending machines: results of a cross-sectional survey of out-of-service people who inject drugs in Tbilisi, Georgia.  This study used respondent driven sampling to conduct face to face cross sectional interviews using a structured questionnaire.  Perceived acceptability of syringe vending machines was extremely high among PWID not currently receiving any harm reduction or treatment services, with strong support indicated for uninterrupted free access to sterile injection equipment, privacy, and anonymity. Introducing syringe vending machines in Georgia holds the potential to deliver significant public health benefits by attracting hard-to-reach PWID.

Sex Education (Volume 19, Issue 6)
Effects of a life skills-based sexuality education programme on the life-skills, sexuality knowledge, self-management skills for sexual health, and programme satisfaction of adolescents. This study employed a non-equivalent control-group pretest-posttest design with students in the first-year of junior high school participating. The experimental group received 10 sessions of a life skills-based sexuality education programme, and the control group received 10 sessions of the standard sexuality education. Post-intervention, the experimental group scored significantly higher than the control group on sexual and reproductive health related knowledge and a larger improvement in sexual health self-management skills.The study highlights how implementing such programs in schools can increase sexual-health skills which are important for the prevention of health problems in adulthood.

Sexual Health (Volume 16, Issue 5)
Gonorrhoea: tackling the global epidemic in the era of rising antimicrobial resistance. This Special Issue of Sexual Health aims to collate the latest evidence base focussed on understanding the current epidemic and transmission of gonorrhoea, choice of treatment, molecular epidemiology application, concerns about antimicrobial resistance and alternative prevention and control of gonorrhoea.

Advancing vaccine development for gonorrhoea and the global STI vaccine roadmap. This article addresses efforts to develop vaccines against gonorrhoea. It discusses the Global STI Vaccine Roadmap which provides action steps to build on current technical momentum and advance gonococcal vaccine development. Gaining consensus on target populations and implementation strategies are needed for vaccines to be suitable.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (Volume 95, Issue 6)
Psychosocial and sexual characteristics associated with sexualised drug use and chemsex among men who have sex with men in the UK. This study used an anonymous cross-sectional survey to compare MSM who engaged in recent sexualised drug use (past 12 months) with those who did not, and those who engaged in chemsex (γ-hydroxybutyrate/γ-butyrolactone,crystal methamphetamine, mephedrone, ketamine) with those who engaged in other sexualised drug use. The study found factors associated with sexualised drug use were recent STI diagnosis, sexual health clinic attendance, image and performance-enhancing drug use, greater number of condomless anal male partners, and lower satisfaction with life and greater sexual satisfaction. Harm reduction should be promoted among MSM engaging in sexualised drug use and chemsex, as well as referral pathways for those experiencing negative effects.

Increasing HIV testing engagement through provision of home HIV self-testing kits for patients who decline testing in the emergency department: a pilot randomisation study. Patients who declined a routine HIV test offered in an ED-based triage nurse-driven HIV screening programme were enrolled and randomised to either the HIV self testing group or the control group. The study found the at-home test kits significantly increased HIV testing rates in HIV testing ‘decliners’. This approach provides an additional opportunity to engage patients who decline HIV testing, including those who have never been tested. This approach could supplement current HIV screening programmes in order to increase the overall HIV testing uptake.

Australian Journal of General Practice (Volume 48, Issue 10)
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis: knowledge and attitudes among general practitioners. A content-validated questionnaire was distributed to GPs in the Mackay region to assess knowledge and attitudes towards PrEP, followed by individual in-depth interviews. The survey was conducted in 2017, prior to PBS approval and the release of Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) PrEP guidelines, when the majority of GPs had minimal exposure to and knowledge of PrEP. The study found that one third of the participating GPs had previously heard of PrEP with the majority not feeling comfortable to prescribe PrEP. The majority agreed that formalised guidelines were likely to increase prescription confidence. One recommendation was the introduction of hard copies and easy access links to the ASHM clinical guidelines for GP's to improve use.