The 2nd Australasian Sexual and Reproductive Health Day was held face to face for the first time alongside the joint HIV&AIDS and Sexual Health conference.
On the day attendees from across the country and internationally, came together to discuss multidisciplinary approaches to integrating rights-based sexual and reproductive healthcare into practice.
The day began with a moving personal story from slam poet, Anisa Nandaula. Session one discussed integrated approaches to contraception and abortion, with highlights including finding ‘champions’ within the workplace or field to help overcome barriers. Emma McFarlane reminded us of the importance of not shying away from using the word ‘abortion’ in our practice, to rob the word of its associated stigma.
Sexual and reproductive health across the continuum of life was the focus of session two. Melissa Kang (known to many as Dolly Doctor) discussed the lack of interaction with young people in research and challenged us to ensure the voices of young people guide the creation and direction of future work. Terri Foran outlined the complex relationship between contraception and libido leaving us with the important message that we must look at the research, but we can’t forget to listen to our patients.
Session 3 opened with Ruth McNair offering great advice for engaging LGBTQ patients accessing sexual and reproductive care, outlining the role we all have in advocating for community. Rocky Byrne and Dylan Barrett provided insight into their work delivering vital health messages to underserved communities, best summed up with the message “nothing about us, without us”.
The day closed with a session on gender-based violence prevention, support and care. We heard about the alarmingly high rates of reproductive coercion in Australia, and the importance of clinicians being sensitive to signs when this population engages in sexual and reproductive health services. Elizabeth McLindon pushed for health workers to have those difficult conversations to detect and prevent cases of gender-based violence, whilst still ensuring the workforce is supported and cared for.
The day emphasised the need for integration and collaboration across professions, ensuring nurses and midwives are effectively utilised. We all have a role to play in advocating for the best possible sexual and reproductive care using multidisciplinary approaches.
Thank you to all the delegates, the sponsors and the program committee for putting together such a wonderful day.
The conferences will look a little different in 2023 due to IAS holding their annual event in Brisbane in July, meaning that HIV&AIDS will not be running alongside Sexual Health.
However we are thrilled to announce the launch of the Australasian Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference 2023, which officially acknowledges the inclusion of reproductive health within the program. It will be held on the 18th of September over 3 days at the Manly Pacific Hotel, Sydney. The conference will recognize the need to strengthen the linkages between sexual health and reproductive health services and rights and reflect the multidisciplinary workforce the Australasian Sexual Health Alliance represents. The HIV/AIDS program will re-join the Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference in 2024.
Pop the date in your diaries, we hope to see you all there!