2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

As the global response to 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, we're committed to looking after the health and wellbeing of our LGBTI communities and people living with HIV.

 

TOPICS: Physical Distancing | Sex & COVID-19 | COVID-19 and PLHIV

 

Physical Distancing

 

One of the few effective strategies we have for limiting the spread of COVID-19 is physical distancing. This means avoiding close contact with others and leaving at least 1.5 metres between you and other people. This also means avoiding group gatherings at this time. Thorne Harbour Health CEO, Simon Ruth, addressed our LGBTI and PLHIV communities recently. You can watch the video below or read the full transcript of the message here.

Sex & COVID-19

Physical distancing and avoiding close contact presents our communities with challenges when it comes to sex and intimacy. Together with Thorne Harbour Health, we've released an info sheet on Sex, Intimacy & Coronavirus. Click here to find out more.

 

And if you've got a question or an idea about how to reduce your risk of COVID-19 while still saying sexy - email us! We can run these past clinical experts and share their answers here and on social media.

 

JOY 94.9's Well, Well, Well recently navigated this topic as they spoke to Bryony Cole (CEO & Founder, The Future of Sex), adult film performer and sex worker Max Arion, and Associate Professor Edwina Wright from The Alfred to discuss this issue - from sex tech to online sex work to what it means to be intimate.

 

COVID-19 for PLHIV

 

SAMESH, SHINE SA, and Thorne Harbour Health are encouraging people living with HIV (PLHIV) to take additional precautions in the face of the changing landscape around 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

We want to ensure the ongoing health and wellbeing of all PLHIV who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. This means minimising the risk of exposure to the virus.

 

While everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19, the consequences of infection are more severe for some vulnerable groups.
This includes PLHIV who are:

 

  • Aged over 60 years old
  • Living with a detectable viral load or a CD4 count below 500
  • Diabetic
  • Smokers
  • Living with hepatitis B or C
  • Living with a comorbidity such as heart or lung issues

 

Those PLHIV on treatment with an undetectable viral load (and no other significant health condition) are at no greater risk of serious health consequences due to COVID-19 than the general population. That being said, they should still take the advice of the health department in exercising precautions such as handwashing, working from home where possible, limiting time on public transport, and avoiding large groups or crowded areas.

 

Those PLHIV who fall into one of the vulnerable groups listed above should limit contact with others to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.

 

If you are living with HIV and are concerned you might be at risk, you should:

 

  • Maintain regularly scheduled medical appointments, but consider asking your doctor about telehealth consultations
  • Ensure you have between 1-3 month supply of any medications you currently take
  • Avoid stockpiling medications beyond a 1-3 month supply as this could cause unnecessary shortages
  • Be wary of advice or articles in social media — do not modify the medications you currently take without first consulting your doctor
  • Contact your doctor about getting vaccinations for influenza and pneumococcal when available
  • Keep in touch with friends, colleagues, and family via phone calls and video chat — consider scheduling regular catch ups
  • Stay in touch – our organisations will continue to release more information and resources as the situation continues to evolve

 

This public health issue can be stressful, but our communities have a long history of staying informed and collective action to ensure we look after our health as well as the wellbeing of those around us. Let’s keep this legacy going as we look after ourselves and those around us

 

The team on JOY 94.9's Well, Well, Well recently unpacked a lot of the myths surrounding COVID-19 as they spoke to the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute and leading infectious diseases expert, Professor Sharon Lewin as well as Living Positive Victoria President Richard Keane.