Monday, 03 July 2017 08:03

Next Step Outreach Service at M Clinic

The WA AIDS Council and Next Step Alcohol and Drug Service, East Perth have worked together for a number of years, assisting each other with workforce development in their respective areas of specialty. From July 2017, Next Step will begin delivering an outreach service at the M Clinic. The service is designed to be an open-door to gay, bisexual and other homosexually active men, to access peer-based, non-judgemental, friendly and tailored services. This includes general information, education, referral and support with any difficulties they may be experiencing with their substance use.

The idea to co-locate sexual health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) services is not a new one – in fact, 56 Dean Street has modelled how this integration of services can achieve phenomenal results, when provided with sound peer support. M Clinic Manager, Justin Manuel, says, “A lot of our clients just don’t feel comfortable taking that step into an external service, especially if they’ve had poor experiences with traditional AOD services in the past, or know someone who has. The co-location within M Clinic allows clients to remain in a comfortable setting to begin accessing information and support.”

The services commence on Tuesday 4th July, and will initially run fortnightly from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Clients are free to drop-in between those times, or alternatively, can make an appointment by contacting M Clinic

 

 

Published in Latest News
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 07:03

PrEP - Sign up to be among the first

There are imminent changes on the horizon for how Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis will be accessed in Western Australia.

A project for accessing PrEP is anticipated to commence in the second half of 2017 (subject to ethical approvals), whereby PrEP and associated support services will be available to people who may be at risk of contracting HIV.

Do you want to be kept up to date on all changes to PrEP access in WA? Make sure you sign up to the mailing list by completing the expression of interest form below! 

Sign up button

 
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The Clinical Services Department has now facilitated two Beyond Positive Series of workshops. Held weekly over six weeks, Beyond Positive evolved out of a perceived need to offer HIV positive gay and other homosexually active men the opportunity to gather in a safe space and share stories, experiences and their own personal narratives around what living with HIV is like for them.


Facilitator Mark explains, "As a HIV positive gay man this enabled me to work with my peers is supporting the continuation of their journey and the ability to listen, learn and question what they and their peers were dealing with on a daily basis. It has always been about giving each person who attends the opportunity to express freely their journey to date and to share the experiences that have gotten them to where they are today."

The workshop agenda is very flexible, with the participants setting the themes each week, whilst being mindful of group guidelines and respect for each individual’s personal journey.

Conversations are held around such issues as diagnosis, disclosure, treatment as prevention, intimacy, sex, relationships, PrEP and much more.

With the overwhelming positive feedback and evaluation from the first two series, we will certainly be continuing Beyond Positive into the 2016-2017 year.

Lisa Tomney, Manager Clinical Services

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by Simon Yam, Manager, Organisational Development

Towards the end of April, we were able to send five of our staff to attend the National Gay Men’s Health Promotion Conference in Sydney. The group that went covered a diverse range of our activities, from counselling to the M Clinic, to media and our Needle Syringe Exchange Program. Of course, linking these activities is the number of gay men that are our interface through our entire organisation.

Before they left, we asked that they consider four important questions and provide feedback to all of us about ways in which our work can be both relevant and meaningful in terms of the lived experience of gay and bisexual men. The questions were;

1. How should AIDS councils be adapting to the new prevention landscape as it affects gay men?
2. How are we (WA) gearing up for new service models in key areas like HIV testing and PrEP compared to other jurisdictions?
3. How realistic are the 2020 targets and in what ways are they oriented towards gay men in Australia?
4. There are concerns that wide scale adoption of PrEP will lead to significant rises in other STIs amongst gay and other homosexually active men. What are some alternative responses to this? What kind of language should we be adopting?

Naturally, the responses were quite varied as you would expect, with so many different perspectives among the participants. Nonetheless, a number of significant themes certainly emerged that were consistently reported.

Inclusivity

Not only has it become even more important to be fully inclusive of all the diversity we work with, it has also become harder. In the past, programs may have been designed for a primary priority population and subsequently adapted, but this is no longer effective. Building programs from the ground up that have a degree of relevance to wide audiences and then supplementing them with additional resources that are audience-specific seems to be the way forward.

Engagement

An AIDS Council is fundamentally a community-based organisation that was born from a community facing disaster, and from the beginning was deeply embedded and connected to the community from whence it sprung. As time has gone by and as AIDS Councils have become dependant on delivering services contracted by governments, the level of embeddedness in community has somewhat dissipated. And yet, at this stage in the epidemic where new bio-medical technologies are arriving that make ending HIV a real possibility, being driven by community need is vital. There needs to be a rethink about how prevention organisations can again become more embedded, and new ways found to communicate. Whilst social media provides opportunities from one perspective, another view is that the entire communication landscape has become more convoluted and difficult to navigate.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

It was no surprise that PrEP had a dominant place in the conference, given that it presents both opportunities and challenges. It is also clear that around the country there are a number of different approaches based on population size, government attitude and community mobilisation. Indeed, it was said that there has been a level of activism around access to PrEP that we have not seen for two decades. Conversations about PrEP will play out in the community and not in the doctors’ surgeries or sexual health clinics. Those who control the prescribing pen cannot control the real-time decisions being made in and amongst the communities of homosexually active men. It is therefore essential that any PrEP program, regardless of whether there are demonstration projects, is built at a grassroots level.

The 2020 Targets

There is a general consensus that achieving a virtual elimination of HIV transmission amongst gay and bisexual men is a realistic proposition, whilst there is also a consensus that this is unlikely to actually happen. There is actually no definition of what a “virtual elimination” is, so there remains doubt around the question. The two areas of new understanding - PrEP and the impact of treatment as prevention (TasP) - are the ‘game changers’, but present difficulties. There seems to be a general view that increasing uptake of PrEP and an increase in numbers with an undetectable viral load will be accompanied by a decrease in condom use and an increase in other STIs. This will not only further accentuate a need for expanded testing programs, but also points to a need for new testing models such as ‘pop-up’ testing sites and outreach services. And there was a note of caution too. Linking rising STI rates to increased use of PrEP will lead to further dissemination of ‘sex stigma’ in the community, and this will be counter-productive in terms of boosting and maintaining community connectedness.

Published in Latest News

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that often has no symptoms. It can be passed on through oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex (top or bottom), rimming, fingering and sharing sex toys. It can also be spread through intimate or skin-to-skin contact with someone who has syphilis.

There are a range of symptoms depending on the stage of syphilis infection and may range from sores, through to a rash and swollen glands. There may be no symptoms.
Condoms work well as a preventative measure from getting syphilis, however there is a chance you could still become infected. This is why it’s important to get tested regularly to ensure you’re clear.

The good news is that syphilis infections are completely curable with antibiotics.

In Western Australia the number of cases of syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the 2015/16 financial year have more than doubled* in comparison to the previous financial year.

Testing

Syphilis testing is via a blood test and swabs may be taken if you have sores. For those that are HIV positive, it’s recommended to get tested for syphilis every 3 months along with regular HIV blood tests.

Where to Get Tested

You can go to your GP and get a syphilis test as part of your routine STI testing or go to a sexual health clinic such as M Clinic (Specifically for MSM), South Terrace Clinic or Royal Perth Hospital Sexual Health Clinic.

Additional Resources

The websites below contain further information about sexually transmitted infections:
M Clinic
Drama Downunder
Ending HIV
Department of Health

Syphilis - The facts: download
Asymptomatic STI screening for MSM: download

*Source: Communicable Disease Control Directorate
• Total WA Syphilis notifications increased 142% from the 2014-15 Financial Year (107) to the 2015-16 Financial Year (259), and 171% higher than the 5 year mean (95.6)
• MSM metro notifications increased 152% from the 2014-15 Financial Year (65) to the 2015-16 Financial Year (164).

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It is time, once again, to undertake the Perth Gay Community Periodic Survey.

What is it? The Perth Gay Community Periodic Survey is a short survey completed every two years by gay and other homosexually active men in Perth.
Why is the survey conducted? The research findings help us create programs and initiatives to improve the quality of the community.
Who participates? Gay men and other homosexually active men of Perth over 18 years of age.
What does it entail? Ten minutes of your time!
Between January 24 and February 7, you will find our friendly survey team at the following locations around Perth including:

- The Court Hotel
- Connections Nightclub
- Perth Steamworks
- M Clinic
- Dedicated recruiting tent at Pride Fairday on Saturday February 7th.

The survey is TOTALLY CONFIDENTIAL

What kind of questions will be asked? The survey asks participants questions about sexual behaviour, HIV testing practices and community engagement.
Want more information? Contact Matt Creamer on email mcreamer@waaids.com or phone 08 9482 0000.

Do it for your community

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Sydney, Australia (10 November 2015) – Results of a national survey of gay men’s relationships suggest that their partnerships are highly varied and far more complex than just whether they are monogamous or not.

Of the 4215 men who participated in the study, almost 70 percent reported having a regular partner, but this included 26 percent with two or more regular partners. 

“The diversity of partnerships observed through this study indicates the complexity of gay and bisexual men’s sexual behaviour,” said Professor Garrett Prestage. 

The Monopoly Study was a collaboration between the Kirby Institute and the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society. You can read the full statement here; and the study itself here.

Published in Latest News
Friday, 05 June 2015 02:04

M Clinic

M Clinic 1 2M Clinic is Perth’s only sexual health clinic that caters exclusively to men who have sex with men. M Clinic is an appointment only clinic that provides free, confidential, non-judgemental STI testing & treatment.

M Clinic works on a peer-based model, combining integrated health promotion with clinical service provision, with the aim of reducing acquisition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other sexually transmissible infections (STI’s) at a population health level. 

The clinic provides a full range of STI and HIV testing and also provides vaccination for hepatitis A and B and human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of genital warts.

It also gives guys a chance to engage with other health and related services that are on offer to them in Perth by carrying out appropriate referrals.

To read more and make a booking, visit the M Clinic website here.

 

 

Published in What We Do

Our Mission

To minimise the impact and further transmission of HIV, other blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. To reduce social, legal and policy barriers which prevent access to health information and effective support and prevention services.