HIV advocates are calling for greater efforts and coordination in eliminating HIV-related stigma which, if left unchallenged, can have significant negative implications on Australia’s world-leading HIV prevention efforts. This new discussion paper lays bare the impact of stigma on people living with HIV (PLHIV), as well as on public health more broadly. Titled Ending HIV-Related Stigma For All, it found that HIV stigma lead to poorer health outcomes for PLHIV. It also acts as a barrier to testing and service access for priority populations, including for migrant gay and bisexual men who now account for most new HIV notifications in NSW. As such, stigma hinders efforts to end HIV transmissions. The paper outlines a series of recommendations that calls for a coordinated, multi-pronged approach to eliminate HIV stigma.
We are excited to announce that the QueerAbility Toolkit will be live from Thursday 3rd December on International Day for People with Disabilities. The purpose of the QueerAbility Toolkit is to support and empower LGBTQ people with disabilities to navigate the NDIS.
Some of the toolkit highlights include:
5 films (including the one you saw at Big Stays in today) featuring LGBTQ people with disabilities speaking about their lived experiences
Downloads such as letters to take to your appointments, wellness wheels and an emotional tips sheet and a roadmap
Information on how to access the NDIS including the application process and what to do if an application is denied
Information on how to manage emotions and stress while applying
Palliative Care and End of Life Needs Analysis for LGBTQ, PLHIV and Carers
We invite you to share your experience and knowledge of palliative and end of life care and planning. This is for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, people living with HIV (PLHIV) who are LGBTQ and/or carers of LGBTQ people and PLHIV who are LGBTQ. Understanding your needs and preferences will help us develop a toolkit to support you.
A community codesign process will focus on empowering LGBTQ people, PLHIV who are LGBTQ and their carers to have discussions, have a better understanding of their rights and have access to information and resources to make informed decisions about palliative care and end of life care and planning.
This project is a partnership between ACON, Carers NSW, Palliative Care NSW, Positive Life NSW and the Seniors Rights Service. Funded by NSW Health
Here & No is new digital animation resources that support trans people who have experienced sexual assault.
We developed the resources with funding from NSW Health and in partnership with ACON’s Pride Training and the Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence team in response to national research from The Kirby Institute, which found that more than half of the trans people sampled had experienced sexual violence, which is four times higher than the general Australian population. The research also revealed that most trans people had never reported these experiences, nor sought help.
These findings come after the release earlier this year of the The Crossing the Line study from the Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), conducted at Western Sydney University (WSU), which found that trans women of colour were more likely than cis women to report having been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed multiple times.
During Trans Awareness Week, it’s important that we shine a light on the issues trans people are facing locally. In NSW and across Australia, trans people are experiencing an epidemic of sexual violence and most never tell anyone about it, or seek help, Here & Now has been developed by trans people for trans people and offers the community some guidance for accessing support and medical care after experiencing sexual violence. Research into the lived experiences of trans people in Australia tells us that there is a pressing need for interventions that are both trans-led and meaningful for this population. It is critically important that there is help available. Equally important, this resource reminds survivors of sexual assault that they remain in control of what happens to them.
Here & Now comprises of four animations, five new TransHub pages and two posters on the importance of pronouns. Resources for community members have been launched and resources for sexual assault services will launch next week.
The Digital Peer Support survey gathers information about how LGBTQ+ young people support each other and themselves through digital and social media. It also explores how these practices relate to mental health and wellbeing. This survey is part of a larger study that aims to inform Australian mental health policy through evidence of LGBTQ+ young people’s mental health experiences and peer support practices.
To participate in this survey, you must be:
based in Australia;
aged 16-25 years; and
part of the LGBTQ+ community (I use this acronym because it’s recognisable, but as the + suggests, this includes a wide range of gender and sexual identities).
Who’s doing this research?
My name’s Paul Byron and this is part of my postdoctoral research project undertaken at the University of Technology Sydney. I have a history of researching digital and social media, along with LGBTQ+ young people’s wellbeing and peer support. You can read more about my research on my UTS staff profile.
About the survey
The survey is anonymous and participation is voluntary. You will not be asked to share your name or provide any information that reveals your identity. The survey has been approved by the UTS Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref: ETH20-5087).
If you want to receive updates about the research project and its findings, you can subscribe to the research blog.
Other opportunities to get involved
I also plan to interview LGBTQ+ young people (aged 16-25) between December 2020 and March 2021. Interviews will follow up on key findings from this survey, and participants will receive a gift card for their participation. Interviews will be conducted online. If you wish to register for an interview, please fill out the short form at the end of the survey. If you would like to be interviewed without doing the survey, please subscribe to the research blog to receive a future announcement about this.
Fears for culturally and linguistically diverse patients avoiding healthcare due to COVID-19
Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients are being urged to take care of their health and contact their GP for any issues following concerns some may be avoiding medical care due to fear of the COVID-19 virus.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Consumer Health Forum of Australia (CHF), and Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) are urging patients from CALD communities not to neglect their health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It comes after Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in Victoria were placed back under stage three restrictions due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. There are further pockets of community transmission in other urban and regional areas in the eastern states, particularly Victoria and New South Wales.
RACGP spokesperson Dr Kate Walker said even in these difficult times it was important for patients to see their GP for any health concerns including mental health concerns.
“We are very concerned for CALD patients who may be avoiding important medical appointments due to fear of COVID-19. There are higher rates of chronic disease and other comorbidities among some CALD communities.
“The last thing we want to see is an increase in health issues due to patients delaying care – MBS data showed a decrease of more than one million consultations in May, compared to the same time last year.
“GPs have told us their CALD patients are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. We are hearing of vulnerable patients who’ve lost work and are under a great deal of stress, GPs are seeing increased mental health symptoms, isolation and loneliness.
“CALD communities already face barriers to healthcare, so it’s critical that we get the message to these patients about the importance of maintaining care during the pandemic – as well as public health messages for COVID-19.
“I want to reassure all patients that it remains safe to visit your GP. Practices have strict infection prevention measures in place. You can also access a GP remotely with telehealth consultations and free interpreter services. So if you need an appointment, please don’t delay.
“We’ve seen in the United Kingdom and the United States, African American and CALD communities have high rates of COVID-19 and higher rates of death. The current outbreaks in Melbourne have been in areas with high numbers of CALD communities. It is essential that CALD communities across Australia are able to access COVID-19 health advice in their language, including information about testing, how to self-isolate, quarantine and contact tracing. CALD patients with COVID-19 would also benefit from remote care and support from their communities.
“Asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants face greater barriers to care and may be more mistrustful of government and reluctant to get tested. We are concerned there is a lack of messaging about testing options for those without a Medicare card.”
FECCA Chairperson Mary Patetsos said more needed to be done to address the barriers CALD communities face to healthcare.
“We need to recognise the barriers CALD communities face to healthcare including language and cultural barriers, which may affect health literacy and outcomes. We need equity in services to ensure those communities are not disadvantaged.
“GPs have a role to play here – we encourage GPs to be proactive and reach out to their CALD patients who may need reassurance that it is safe and important to keep their regular health checks.
“We urge health authorities to consult and collaborate with CALD consumer peak bodies, such as FECCA, to address the challenges and needs of CALD Australians when it comes to their health care.”
CHF CEO Leanne Wells said: “If our national health system is to provide care for those who most need it, then we need greater focus on reaching CALD people who too often miss out on care because barriers such as language, bad past experiences, location and opening times and transport. To fail to do so risks further widening health inequalities between CALD communities and others.”
“We know that poor health literacy — the ability to understand and use the health system — means greater risk of ill-health and continuing untreated chronic illness.
“Governments must give greater priority to ensuring CALD groups are able to access the information and care they require. For CALD communities this comes with an obligation to work in partnership with communities to decide how to best communicate health messages that people respond to,” Ms Wells said.
The RACGP, CHF and FECCA say the barriers to care for CALD patients need to be addressed and are calling for:
consultation with CALD communities – health authorities must involve communities and peak bodies in developing strategies to address the health needs of CALD Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic
CALD peak bodies and community groups must be involved in developing and disseminating COVID-19 information and directives. More targeted information is needed about testing, self-isolation, contact tracing and healthcare for those who have tested positive.
care and support of COVID-19 positive patients should involve CALD communities remotely if possible
improved video consultation access – there is currently no video consultation platform available that enables the use of interpreters. We encourage video platforms to enable easy integration of telephone interpreters, simplify the interface and provide information on alternative telephone options.
Important information for CALD patients:
take care of your health – don’t delay care, call your GP for any concerns
you can consult your GP remotely – telephone and video consultations are available, subsidised for all concession card holders, those under 16 and patients and those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19
it is safe to visit your GP if you need to – practices have strict infection control measures, including sanitisation, social distancing and personal protective equipment
if you have COVID-19 symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, fever or chills or loss of smell or taste) get tested right away and self-isolate until you get the results.
International students – mental health and well-being during COVID
Mental health and wellbeing videos have been developed by the COVID-19 Communications Team, in collaboration with Headspace and the Mental Health Branch, reminding people to look after their mental health during the pandemic. The videos highlight some of the symptoms and behaviours people may experience due to changes to their situation, stress or isolation, and identify tips and resources available that can provide much needed support.
Meet Toby, an international university student and Headspace volunteer, talking about the importance of working together to get through this challenging time.
NSW HEALTH & REFUGEE HEALTH VIDEO RESOURCES ON COVID-19: MULTILINGUAL:
Please see the links below for useful resources in several community languages including English, Vietnamese, Arabic, Khmer, Lao, Samoan, Swahili and Fiji Hindi among others.
Useful resources to share with young people and their families.
See below the links to the COVID-19 community videos that the Bilingual Community Educators (BCE) from Western Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts as well as from the NSW Refugee Health Service have done as part of their work within health.
COVID 19 Community Videos by Bilingual Community Educators (BCEs):
Type in the details of the appointment within the form. The translated appointment is automatically created in a pdf document which you can either print and give to your client or directly email to them. If you have any feedback or enquiries, you can contact us by visiting our contact form
Launch of WeChat – Health resources in Chinese
The NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service has launched a new WeChat platform for Chinese-Australian community members to access the latest NSW Health information in-language, available as online posts. Follow the MHCS WeChat via the QR code to access health news in Chinese.
TRANSLATED RESOURCES – COVID-19
Note: Additional languages for translated COVID-19 resources are currently being developed by NSW Health and Local Health Districts.
We are delighted to announce that we will be holding our annual Refugee Communities in Cultural Transition Forum on Tuesday 15 September 2020. The theme is “Sharing our Stories, Showcasing our Successes”. The forum will enable you to participate, connect and engage with stories from refugee communities.
This year the forum will be held online from 10.00 am to 12 noon.
CiCT is a flagship program of STARTTS. CiCT assists non-funded associations and groups from newly arrived, small and emerging refugee communities to help develop their leadership and governance skills. The program aims to end the dependence of small refugee groups on large community service organizations to empower them to stand on their own.
It gives us great pleasure to inform you that our keynote speaker is Chris Sidoti. Mr Sidoti was a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Fact-Finding Mission on Rohingyas in Myanmar from 2017 to 2019. It was this mission which found sufficient evidence to call for the investigation of senior military officials for crimes against humanity and genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
There will be a number of community speakers who will be making presentations about their experiences prior to coming to Australia and their settlement here.
Attached is the flyer about our forum. Do forward the flyer to your community and friends.
Meet the 16,000 children left behind by our government.
The Refugee Council of Australia are asking you to support a key campaign calling on the Federal government to ensure that children and their families seeking asylum aren’t left destitute as a result of COVID-19.
There are currently around 16,000 children in families seeking protection in Australia. Many people seeking asylum have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, as they often work in the service sectors worst affected. People seeking asylum are not eligible for the JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments, like many other workers. They have been left with nothing. It will be hard for them to re-enter the workforce, especially in the current economy.
There are serious concerns that many families seeking asylum have been left in a situation where they have no work, no income, and no way out. Demand on emergency relief at asylum agencies has in most cases trebled, with unprecedented demand for food, medicines and rent relief.
A coalition of educators, carers and students are working to put pressure on the Federal government to ensure adequate support is provided for people in this situation. COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither should access to a safety net or assistance during this time. We are in this together and there must be support for all who need it, regardless of visa status.
We are launching a petition in support of those educators and want to invite you to sign it in support of them!
The page above has two ways you can sign on – either as an educator or a member of the general public. I encourage you to sign the appropriate action and then share it to your networks.
We know that if we can get a significant number of educators standing in solidarity with those children and families left behind by the Federal government, then we can achieve change. We’ve seen this approach work with the Kids Off Nauru campaign, and we can see it work again.
Only with people like you can we ensure that the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston, hear a deafening call from the public. We need them to hear that leaving children and families behind at this critical time is unacceptable, and we will not stand for it.
People seeking asylum, teachers, students, parents, child-care workers, refugees, community service organisations, unions, principals and the general public. We stand together in calling for #NoChildLeftBehind
In solidarity, Kelly, for the Refugee Council team
The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) have built a Beta website to trial new myGov content and collect feedback.
The Beta website is called Welcome to the future of myGov and was released on 14 June.
An exciting feature of the Beta website, is the ‘select language’ option that offers users a choice to view the website in over 100 languages. Users must access the website via their personal device or using Google Chrome to use this feature.
Presently, the beta website offers myGov users information about government services and payments, based on events in their life. The ‘select language’ option allows customers with limited or no English to access all of this information in their preferred language.
During the beta stage it is important that the website is trialled and feedback is received so changes and enhancements can be made to improve user experience in later stages.
As such, we encourage you to promote this feature to customers and CTPOs to trial out and provide feedback. Feedback can be left on the myGov beta website by selecting Feedback from any page. The user will be prompted to go to a link where they can provide their feedback.
This is a great opportunity to help ensure this exciting new feature is functional and fit for purpose.
To access the ‘select language’ feature, go to beta.my.gov.au using Google Chrome or from a personal device, scroll to the bottom of the page and it will give you the option to select a language in the bottom left hand corner.
In celebration of Refugee Week 2020 (14-20 June), Shellharbour City Council will be offering the screening of a refugee themed movie and will host a Refugee Week themed children’s storytime via Shellharbour City Libraries, Library at Home online site.
The film, Cast from the Storm tells the story of a group of teenage refugees who share their extraordinary stories when they join Treehouse Theatre, an after-school theatre group. Alongside this is a pre-recorded introduction to the movie by the film’s director David Mason, specific to this screening event. Viewers are invited to engage online to continue the conversation or share ideas on how their community can show support for refugees.
The gorgeous storybook Room On Our Rock, with themes of acceptance and inclusion, will be read via the storytime portal.
ACON will be hosting a live online information session to explore coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on regional NSW sexuality and gender diverse communities on Wednesday 13 May 3pm – 4.30pm.
We know that COVID-19 is having a profound effect on the regional communities ACON works with and for. Misinformation is everywhere, and this can sometimes make understanding COVID-19 difficult. ACON will be hosting this online information session to dispel myths and misunderstanding, and come together as a community to discuss COVID-19 and how it is changing the ways in which we socialise, work, and have sex. The forum will include experts from the Regional NSW community as well as local entertainers from the Hunter and Northern Rivers areas who will guide, inspire and entertain us through this difficult time.
We are inviting members of our communities to submit questions about COVID-19 and our health to be answered by the panel. We will attempt to group questions together and answer as many as possible in the time we have. If you have a questions you would like considered, please let us know when you register.
You are invited to a free online forum for trans and gender diverse people and our allies to learn more about staying safe, well and connected as a trans person in a global pandemic. Hear from a diverse range of NSW speakers, ask lots of questions and interact with the audience. Hosted by Teddy Cook, ACON’s Manager, Trans and Gender Diverse Health Equity and Liz Duck-Chong, ACON’s Community Health Promotion Officer, Trans and Gender Diverse Health Equity.
Aunty Lisa Taylor – Sistergirl Elder, advocate and community organiser
Panda Cheong – Psychologist, community leader and artist
Eloise Brook – Media Manager – Gender Centre, writer, advocate and academic
Mish Pony – Trans and Gender Diverse Specialist Advisor – LGBTI Health Alliance, Trans Sex Worker Representative – Scarlet Alliance and Board Director – AFAO
Cristyn Davies – Senior Research Fellow – Child and Adolescent Health, Westmead Children’s Hospital, Adjunct Scholar – Sexualities and Genders Research (SaGR), Western Sydney University and Board Director – Twenty10 Inc GLCS NSW
Dr Martina Gleeson – Gender affirming GP in the Sutherland Shire and GP Clinical Lead for South Eastern Sydney HealthPathways
The forum will be cast live to this Facebook event and recorded for sharing with captions as soon as possible.
We also hope (pending funding applications) that this forum will kick off a series with our friends at Trans Pride Australia.
Sexual Health & Relationship Kit for the Culturally & Linguistically Diverse community
Registrations are now open for Unpack The Kit Webinar– Tuesday 26th May 2020 from 1.00-2.30 pm.
We invite you to unpack the Sexual Health & Relationship Kit which has been designed for the Culturally & Linguistically Diverse community but can be used for many different groups. Learn how to use The Kit as a teaching tool to run health education sessions and focus groups by giving participants the opportunity to unpack and discuss the information around sexual health and healthy relationships in an open and respectful manner(even online).
Please register early allowing, enough time for us to post out a pack that you will interact with during the webinar.