Vincent’s Transgender PrEP Story

Starting PrEP was an important decision that allowed me to take ownership of my own sexual health. Speaking to my GP in an open and honest way about my sex life has made me better informed about my health and also set a precedent with my GP that our doctor-patient relationship is safe and accepting.

I am a gay transgender man which makes my body and sex life different from that of cisgender male. This was an important thing to consider and discuss with my GP when accessing prep. A lot of sexual health campaigns are cis normative (meaning they are primarily aimed at people who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth). Finding relevant information for me, a man with a vagina has always been difficult. One of the main reasons I started prep was because I learnt that taking testosterone can increase the chances of vaginal bleeding during sex, making HIV transmission more likely.

It was important to me when first researching PrEP that my doctor would be able to discuss it in a way that was relevant to my body, sexuality and identity. I opened this dialogue with a doctor who I knew was LGBT friendly and specifically, was literate on gender identity. This made a big impact on me in my initial consultation as I wasn’t required to define or explain things about my body that he didn’t understand, and I felt safe in his care. I would stress to any transgender person looking to access PrEP that you speak with a doctor who is LGBT friendly and approach the topic from a place of openness and honesty.

I have been taking PrEP since June 2018 and access it through a local pharmacy (on PBS) that I know to be well stocked and LGBT friendly. I know PrEP can also be accessed online and this is cheaper, however I’ve never been organised enough to take that route myself. I have encountered no real obstacles in my access to PrEP, it has been a very smooth process however that has been contingent on the fact that my healthcare providers are trans-friendly and well informed. I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable discussing PrEP or my sexual health in general with a doctor outside of my existing network.

The benefits of PrEP are clear, it is a fairly risk free, safe way to prevent the transmission of HIV. This benefit applies to everyone, regardless of sexuality or gender identity however I personally consider it part of a larger effort to understand and take ownership of sexual health as it relates to my body. Because it has been such a positive experience, it has made me more comfortable talking about other sexual health concerns such as contraception and STIs.

This quest for knowledge is one I believe every transgender person should embark on. Our bodies are quite unique and often general health information or public health campaigns won’t consider us. Overcoming this barrier requires regular and open engagement with competent and well informed healthcare professionals. I encourage all trans men to have an open and honest conversation with an LGBTI friendly doctor. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be your own advocate.

If you prefer to copy Vincent’s story from comeprepd please go ahead!

See Vincent’s story and everything you need to know about PrEP at: https://www.comeprepd.info

 

PRIVATE LIVES 3 VALUES YOUR INPUT

Private Lives 3 is a national study that explores the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTIQ) people living in Australia. This study will provide much-needed data to inform health, support, and other services, as well as deliver a better understanding of the experiences of LGBTIQ people today. It is conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University, and is funded by the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services.

Who can take part?

You are invited to complete this survey if you are aged 18 years or older, living in Australia, and identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex, or other related identities.

 How long does it take?

The survey should take 30-40 minutes to complete.

The third iteration of “Private Lives”, Australia’s largest national survey of the health and well-being of LGBTIQ+ people, is now in progress. If you are LGBTIQ+, over 18, and living in Australia, this is your chance to make your voice count. Click on the link below to begin:

www.privatelives3.org.au

Seeking Expressions of Interest From Mental Health Professionals

The Teams at Open Doors Youth Service and Queensland AIDS Council are seeking Expressions of Interest from suitably qualified Mental Health Professionals to grow our team who will provide client-centred, trauma informed counselling and support services to those within our LGBTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities.

Located within the Brisbane North PHN Catchment Area, we are seeking two (2) Full Time mental health professionals (1 Senior role); and one (1) full time youth mental health professionals, across Suicide Prevention and Brisbane Mind services.

Interested and suitable qualified professionals must be willing to work from a Strengths based approach and meet the below qualifications as a minimum:

  • Psychologists
  • Clinical Psychologist; and
  • Mental Health Social Worker

The positions will work across both QuAC and ODYS and will form part of larger multidisciplinary mental and physical health teams.

A passion for increasing the health and wellbeing of our communities is an absolute must.

Interested and qualified applicants should send a Copy of the Curriculum Vitae and a letter Expressing their Interest for the role to both:

Rebecca Reynolds & Chris Pickard by Wednesday 31st July 2019.

Rreynolds@quac.org.au         cpickard@opendoors.net.au

Any questions regarding the role can be directed to Rebecca & Chris also.

It is anticipated that interviews will take place on Friday 2nd August 2019.

 

Residential Workshop for PLHIV – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

The aim of the residential workshop is to provide a safe environment for participants to share their personal journeys of living with HIV, interact with other participants and take part in peer educational and cultural activities. The workshop is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with HIV in North Queensland, all meals, accommodation and travel will be provided free to participants.

The workshop format will include yarning, covering subjects such as HIV treatment, understanding the virus, barriers to support and care, disclosure, shame and stigma. The workshops will also include a number of fun activities such as bush walking, art, craft and fishing.

Participants will also be encouraged to share their thoughts about how engagement in HIV treatment can be supported and improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The project is being led and supported by a team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with HIV who will also be attendance at the retreat and facilitate sessions. Support staff will be available onsite to support participants and help navigate them through any issues they may have.

Date: 31 August – 3 September 2019

People can either self-refer or referred for the workshop in the following ways:

1. Via securely encrypted online referral form for service providers: https://www.qpp.org.au/referrals
2. Self-referral through securely encrypted self-referral form: https://www.qpp.org.au/self-referral
3. All enquiries contact Chris Howard on choward@qpp.org.au
4. Text or call 0455 725 207

IN BRISBANE? VISIT OUR ART EXHIBITION

TALKING CAN MAKE IT BETTER ART EXHIBITION

PRESENTED BY  QUEENSLAND AIDS COUNCIl AND BRISBANE POWERHOUSE

If you are in Brisbane spend some time visiting our collaborative artistic exploration of how creativity can encourage visual and verbal conversations which aim to reduce suicide and self-harm in our LGBTIQ+, Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities.

As part of the National Suicide Prevention Trial being held in the greater Brisbane region, the Queensland AIDS Council invited artists to submit a visual art response to the messages: “Talking can make it better” and “Here’s how to start the conversation.” This exhibition is the result.

As part of this exhibition you are invited to join our guest speakers for a FREE conversation on Creativity and LGBTIQ+ Suicide Prevention held on 4pm, SUN 30 JUNE. Click here to view.

 

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK 20-26 MAY

This annual celebration is to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers.

The theme for National Volunteer Weekis ‘Making a world of difference.’ This represents the millions of volunteers who make a profound impact in their communities and on society. They contribute to a global effort and make a world of difference.

QuAC has its origins in the commitment, work and spirit of volunteers. We continue to rely on volunteers in many areas from condom packing, to community outreach, our LGBTI Seniors Visiting Scheme, Testing Point and many others including those who volunteer on the Board. Without the passionate contribution of you all, we would not be able to do all that we do.

We cannot thank you enough!

If you’d like to be more involved and volunteer for us please click on the registration link here https://bit.ly/2YDlDZz 

MAY 17 IS IDAHOBIT DAY

The IDAHOBIT theme for this year is JUSTICE AND PROTECTION FOR ALL

A day to stand against discrimination in support of your lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, sistergirl, brotherboy, gender diverse, non-binary, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ+) friends, colleagues and families.

Previously called IDAHO and IDAHOT Day it is observed on the 17th of May, raising awareness of LGBTI rights and justice worldwide. It’s also a great opportunity to talk to a friend or family member about their communities and ask how they are going.
How can you support IDAHOBIT and LGBTI, Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities?

Have a conversation with a friend or family member about support, justice and communities. It’s a day to think about how people can usefully support us all into the future.

AT THE BRISBANE POWERHOUSE FRIDAY MAY 17 AT 6.30PM

A remembrance ceremony commences at 6.30pm till 7pm at the Brisbane Powerhouse Plaza with special guest speakers, a memorial ceremony, lighting of the building and a musical tribute. Then after a short break the MELT Portrait prize winner will be announced inside on the Turbine Platform along with the launch of the MELT visual arts exhibitions including the start of our ‘Talking Can Make It Better’ Art Exhibition in the Switch Room which is part of the LGBTI Suicide Prevention Campaign. The evening is expected to conclude around 8pm.

For those then heading off into the Brisbane night the Story Bridge will be lit up on behalf of QuAC and the Story Bridge, Victoria Bridge, Tropical Dome Brisbane Botanic Gardens, the Wickham Terrace car park architectural wall and Reddacliff Place sculptures Donna Marcus: Steam 2006 are Rainbow lit tonight.

Link to event here:

https://bit.ly/2w6mPbC 

We are honoured to be a ‘Community Partner’ of MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture for the second year. It gives us a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas and current thinking, including Inclusive language and practice using the incredible platform of queer creativity that this festival offers. Apart from continuing volunteer outreach during the festival the MELT festival team have worked with us from the very beginning to meaningfully integrate elements of our Suicide Prevention Campaign into their program. This includes the start of the ‘Talking Can Make It Better’ Art Exhibition which is hanging in the Switch Room from tonight and continues till July 7.

Link to event here:

https://bit.ly/2WRuLte

Balls OUT Bingo has the QPS Bingo at Oxley Golf Club.  It is a closed event but it is for IDAHOBIT Day.  It is the event for the LGBTIQ+ Forum to be held for IDANOBIT and the following day at the Oxley QPS Academy. We thank them for reaching out.

NORTH QUEENSLAND

A significant IDAHOBIT day for our North Queensland communities with this morning’s raising the rainbow flag for the first time outside Cairns Regional Council.

11am-1pm – James Cook University Event, with stalls and sharing information with students about LGBTI+ communities in Cairns

11:30am-1:30pm – Queensland Police BBQ at the Cairns Esplanade, near the lagoon pool with LGBTI Police Liaison Officers and rainbow flag visibility.

OTHER EVENTS

Further information on other events appeared in this QNews article we have previously shared:

https://qnews.com.au/heres-whats-on-in-queensland-for-idahobit-day-next-week/

If you haven’t already use our FB frame here https://bit.ly/2JnV7Qr to mark IDAHOBIT 2019 to stand against discrimination in support of your lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, sistergirl, brotherboy, gender diverse, non-binary, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ+) friends, colleagues and families.

Wherever you are or however you commemorate the day we hope you feel the love.

 

PRIDE IN CAIRNS. WHERE TO FROM HERE?

JOIN US MAY 9 TO HAVE YOUR SAY

As a Queensland state-wide service, QuAC remains committed to working for Brotherboy, Sistergirl and LGBTI communities to increase control over their health. We’re proud to be hosting the next meeting, and hope you can join us.

Meeting Details

Where: QuAC Office, 290 Draper Street Parramatta Park
When: Thurs 9 May 2019 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Contact us at 4041 5451 or cns@quac.org.au
Food and refreshments provided.

We acknowledge the traditional owners the Djabugay, Yirrganydji and Gimuy Yidinji peoples and pay respects to elders past and present.

Wellbeing Gathering – Mission Beach April 12 – 15 posted by QPP

Queensland Positive People (QPP) have been funded by ViiV Healthcare to undertake a project aimed at Increasing the engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with HIV in HIV treatment. Part of this project is to host a residential workshop for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PLHIV. The retreat is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with HIV, straight, gay, male or female.

The aim of the retreat is to provide a safe environment away from home for participants to share their personal journeys, interact with other participants, take part in educational and cultural activities to strengthen body, mind and spirit and to have a break from the challenges and responsibility of their daily lives and to recharge themselves.

The retreat will be held in Mission Beach on the 12th April 2019 to the 15th April 2019 at a private and secluded resort, there will be no other guests there. All travel to and from the retreat, meals and activities are provided free for participants. Activities will include art and craft, fishing, music and dance.

There will be workshops as well covering subjects like HIV education, barriers to support and treatment and stigma and discrimination.

We will have an aboriginal chef to prepare amazing meals based almost entirely on bush tucker. There will be support staff onsite 24 hours a day to provide one on one support to participants and help navigate them through any issues they may have.

We are reaching out to sexual health services and other community organisations to find participants. If you have patients that are HIV positive and would benefit from learning more about HIV, connecting with other HIV positive people or have problems taking and staying on treatment, we would love to hear from you, and them. Please feel free to circulate this letter to other colleagues that may be working with people that could benefit from this retreat.

Another objective of this project is to learn from the workshop and find ways to support HIV positive people in community, support the communities themselves and hopefully reduce the transmission rates in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Participants will be asked to share their thoughts about ways engagement in treatment can be improved throughout the retreat.

This project is being led by a team of experienced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV positive people. We understand the cultural issues that go along with HIV and sexual health in general.

If you know of someone that may benefit from retreat, great, we have tried to make the process as simple as possible. Call Shep on 0499 799 858. Alternatively, he is more than happy to contact people in any way that suits. QPP pride themselves on its commitment to privacy and discretion and they promise not to do anything that might risk someone’s personal information. We quite often operate under other organisations names to protect our clients. It is our preference that a prospective participant shares at least their phone number with me so I can call them to explain more about the project and retreat. Alternatively email Shep on ashephard@qpp.org with a phone number and any privacy concerns or instructions you may have. Link to flyer is here Wellbeing retreat Flyer