Conference Stream: Intersections
Presenter: Di Drew
Presentation Title: Lesbian, Bisexual & Queer Women’s Health in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions
Program schedule: Friday 14 August 2015 at 16:45
Duration: 15 mins
The Labrys Project is a partnership between ACON and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District exploring the health and wellbeing of Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer and Trans (LBQT) women living across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions of NSW. While LGBTI populations are already underrepresented in peer-reviewed literature, the majority of available research employs metropolitan sample populations. A systematic literature review – exploring how LBQT women’s health issues are conceptualised in peer-reviewed research – and a gap analysis of services in the regions informed the development of a survey tool and focus group series. A survey tool was developed in consultation with a reference group adapting the Sydney Women’s and Sexual Health (SWASH) Survey. The survey tool was expanded to include additional questions surrounding health service access, barriers and response. Utilising social media and digital platforms the survey was made accessible primarily through online distribution. Following this, a series of focus groups were conducted across various locations throughout the regions to deepen the quality of the data through in-depth discussion of key issues. Data were analysed primarily through correlational and significance tests. The findings will inform a community health promotion resource, as well as training modules for local health staff and community organisations. Preliminary results indicate increased incidence of obesity, high level of psychological distress – double the rate of their metropolitan peers – and lower rates of breast self-examination and Pap smear testing. One third of respondents reported sexual intercourse with men in the previous six months, many of which reported ‘frequent’ or ‘occasional’ unprotected sex. This presentation will address the main preliminary findings from the research and discuss the disparities between metropolitan and regional sample populations.