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Safe Sex and HIV A Clinical Perspective Ruth Hennessy Psychology Unit Manager/ Clinical Psychologist The Albion Street Centre, Sydney NSW.

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Presentation on theme: "Safe Sex and HIV A Clinical Perspective Ruth Hennessy Psychology Unit Manager/ Clinical Psychologist The Albion Street Centre, Sydney NSW."— Presentation transcript:


2 Safe Sex and HIV A Clinical Perspective Ruth Hennessy Psychology Unit Manager/ Clinical Psychologist The Albion Street Centre, Sydney NSW

3 Outline Activity PLWHA and transmission Impacts on disclosure and safe sex Professional considerations Treatment Case

4 Sit down if you have ever… Bungee jumped Got a speeding ticket Run a red light Used recreational drugs/ drunk too much alcohol Gone abseiling Spent money you didnt really have

5 Encouraged a friend to drink more alcohol/ try drugs Woken up next to someone and had no idea who they are! Talked on the phone during an electrical storm Had sex without protection having assumed a sexual partner is STI free & HIV negative

6 Hhmm… What do you think the level of risk was? How did others rate the level of risk? Did the potential positive consequences outweigh the negative ones? What would be motivations & barriers to change?

7 PLWHA and transmission

8 Majority of PLWHA are adamant that they would never want to infect anyone else (regardless of the law) and knowing their HIV status has been overall beneficial

9 Intentional Transmission Very rare Likely to have sociopathic, borderline and/or narcissistic personality traits Motivations for change: Egocentric- for own benefit To avoid negative consequences: –loss/rejection –STIs –public outing/humiliation, incarceration

10 Intentional HIV Acquisition Very rarely identified Personality traits Beliefs re increasing intimacy or keeping a relationship or belonging to a community Impact of coercion, bullying from peers/partner

11 Sero-Discordant Relationships Unprotected sex = a relationship Sero-disco and unprotected sex: Strategic positioning UI viewed as sign of commitment/love HIV: –status differences viewed as barrier to intimacy –not viewed as a negative consequence –resolves ongoing fears of transmission –mutual support

12 HIV transmission and sexual behaviour Strategic positioning (top/bottom) Withdrawal method Undetectable viral load Sero sorting I only go to poz parties or venues Beliefs attached to behaviour No/Low risk perception

13 What impacts on PLWHA around disclosure/safe sex

14 Stigma Shame and discrimination Criminalisation of HIV – demonising of PLWHA Fear of recrimination/litigation Privacy issues around disclosure

15 Responsibility Beliefs It takes two to tango… I have been responsible in knowing my status – now I carry this burden with me…I am not taking on anyone elses too… Law says otherwise

16 Skill deficits Sexual negotiation Communication If he doesnt talk about the issue or doesnt bring it up, I dont I dont like to mention it in case he might reject me

17 Mood State I didnt want to think about it I didnt care I just wanted to escape from everything

18 Trust He would have told me/used a condom if there was a problem…

19 Condom Difficulties Dislike of condoms; concern about diminished pleasure Its like having a shower in your raincoat Erectile loss If I use a condom I will lose my erection Unavailability/Inconvenience of condoms The condom broke and we only had one

20 Lack of Control Passion, excitement, impulsivity, substance use It was a passionate moment I was off my head I didn't know he had taken it off

21 Impact of Mental Health Mood Disorders (depression) Anxiety Disorders (social anxiety) Sexual Disorders (erectile dysfunction) Substance Disorders (drug use) Personality Disorders (poor empathy, self concept or communication skills, impulsive behaviours, substance use)

22 Other Issues Own view & experience of HIV Own view & experience of sex I deserve to have sex as I like I am a sex pig Sexuality issues Multiple sex partners Anonymity of sex Use of sexual stimulants (eg. Viagra)

23 Who do we see?

24 Who identifies the behaviour as a problem? Referral from: self other health services eg. GP, treating doctors partners Health Department/Advisory Board Aim to highlight benefits of change to self

25 Engaging people in discussions around HIV and risk Normalise the process: part of standard assessment, similar to Domestic Violence, Child Protection The following questions cover areas that we always ask about as they are pertinent to your health and HIV

26 HIV/STI disclosure Highlight your and their obligations (incl. Public Health) Limits to confidentiality Risk of harm to self Risk of harm to others

27 HIV/STI disclosure The law requires people to disclose their STI/HIV status/practise protected sex. Sometimes people have trouble disclosing their HIV status and/ or practising safe sex. This is something I have experience in and would like to work on if this is an issue for you. How do you approach disclosure and protected sex?

28 Professional Obligations Duty of care Minister of Health can breach confidentiality Board or senior advisory committee Supervisor and Managers Case notes and documentation

29 General Treatment Strategies

30 Treatment Rapport building Importance of engagement Acknowledge and validate clients willingness to raise/address issue Assessment of motivations

31 Strategies Help identify personal obstacles to disclosure/condom use Ask if there are any possible benefits to disclosure/condom use Acknowledge and validate strong feelings

32 Correct Knowledge Gaps Discuss the limitations of statistics What is your understanding of HIV transmission and viral load? …

33 Cognitive Strategies Teach to challenge obstacles to disclosure/condom use and generate more helpful and realistic beliefs eg. Rejection fears Have you ever known anyone to accept a positive sexual partner?

34 Skills Training Assertiveness and social skills training (role plays, modelling) Planning and problem solving Peer support Erection difficulties eg. patient practises masturbation without and with condoms, partner stimulates without and with condom

35 Encouraging Empathy Discuss: Partners motivations for placing themselves at risk Conflict between unsafe sex and concern for partners health Non risk intimate practices eg. mutual masturbation, kissing

36 Specific Treatments Brief Interventions Motivational Interviewing CBT Dialectic Behavioural Therapy

37 Motivational Interviewing Identify the motivators (and barriers) to assist in resolving ambivalence (making change) Monitor the degree of readiness to change to avoid resistance Affirm self-direction

38 Case & Panel

39 Randy Randy is a 38 year old gay man. He has been HIV positive for the last 15 years. His GP referred him because he recently said he was contemplating stopping his HIV medications. He also says he has been having a lot of unprotected sex with different partners in a sex club. This sex has mostly been associated with crystal meth use. Randy has used recreational drugs on and off for many years.

40 Randy Randy used to work part-time for a friend but they had a falling out and he now has no friends, no job and little money. About his sexual behaviour he says I dont have to worry about HIV so why should I care about not using a condom?. About his drug use he says Its the only time I feel good About stopping his medications he says I am over them. He complains of everyone attacking him.

41 GROUP ACTIVITY 1. What might this person be FEELING? 2. What might be key MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS? 3. What REFERRAL OPTIONS and STRATEGIES can you suggest? 4. How does your ORGANISATION / PROJECT ROLE assist people like Randy?

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