Third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy: 2010–2013

6.5 Gay men, other men who have sex with men, sistergirls and transgender people

Page last updated: July 2010

The continued targeting of health promotion activities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men, other men who have sex with men, sistergirls and transgender people is supported. Sex between men accounts for more than half of all HIV infections in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and, as a consequence, this group need to remain a focus of HIV prevention, support and care initiatives.

Gay men, other men who have sex with men, sistergirls and transgender people have experiences that result in them continuing to be vulnerable to BBVs and STIs. For example, in accessing health services, they commonly experience discrimination based on race, sexuality and transgender status. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men, other men who have sex with men, sistergirls and transgender people consistently report difficulties accessing specialist HIV services and community-controlled health services. Actual and perceived racism on the one hand, and homophobia and lack of confidentiality on the other hand, are powerful barriers to service access that require continued attention during this strategy. These groups also experience high levels of sexual and other types of violence, which exacerbates their vulnerability to STIs.

These factors can also contribute to these groups seeking refuge through drug use and injecting drug use has been noted as an emerging issue for these groups. The efforts of communities to develop and implement their own responses to the health issues with which they are confronted are supported.

Priority actions for gay men, other men who have sex with men, sistergirls and transgender people

  • Continue support for mechanisms for communities affected by HIV to identify emerging priorities and refine HIV and BBV responses.
  • Continue support for peer-based, nationally co-ordinated prevention and health promotion initiatives.
  • Improve the capacity of these groups to contribute to initiatives that address the risks associated with injecting drug use.
  • Support research that will help enhance sexual health responses for these groups and help them address emerging issues.
  • Support efforts to address violence (including sexual violence).