March 2014
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Supporting the HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Workforce
6-7 march 2014
9 march 2014
13 march 2014
19 march 2014
22 march 2014
29 march 2014
5 april 2014
15-16 may 2014
29 may 2014



Headlines and Comment


Welcome to ASHMNews

It is with great sadness that ASHM bids farewell to Rosemary McGuckin, who contributed so much to the HIV sector. ASHM CEO Levinia Crooks - who knew Rosemary since the 1990s - delivered a heart-felt obituary.


Interview with HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC)

As a health practitioner, are you aware of your legal responsibilities or vulnerabilities toward your HIV positive clients? This month ASHMNews interviews Indraveer Chatterjee from HALC to find out more about their role in the sector and how they can be of service to health professionals.


ASHM Organisational News


ASHM welcomes HIV Program Coordinator

ASHM is pleased to welcome David Crawford as our new NSW HIV Program Coordinator. With a background in nursing and public health and over 20 years working in the sector, David brings a wealth of experience to share with ASHM.


HCV resources for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

ASHM has developed a new web page with resources to support Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) with the prevention and management of hepatitis C. The web page provides templates for Team Care Plans, Models of Care Clinical Pathways agreement and more. ASHM is available to assist ACCHS strengthen their capacity in viral hepatitis, HIV and STIs management. For further information, please contact


Is It HIV? A handbook for health care providers is now available in Vietnamese

HIV là gì?  the Vietnamese edition of Is It HIV? is produced by the Vietnam Clinical HIV/AIDS Society with support from ASHM. The book is endorsed by the Ministry of Health of Vietnam and other professional societies in the country. It is a practical resource, available in both hard copy and CDROM, for Vietnamese primary health care providers to facilitate the early detection and treatment of HIV infection.

ASHM 2014 International Short Course in HIV

ASHM's International Division will be running the 2014 International Short Course on Managing HIV among Key Affected Populations adjacent to the ASHM Leadership and Mentoring Program and AIDS 2014 in Melbourne. ASHM is supporting delegates from Asia and Pacific regions to participate in the program. Make  tax-free donation to ASHM's International Gift Fund to facilitate this support.

News from our Organisational Sustaining Members

New research finds urgent need to increase HIV and STI testing among young gay men

32 per cent of gay men aged between 16-26 years have never been tested for HIV or other STIs, compared with 5.6 per cent of their older counterparts, according to the newly published Experiences of HIV: The Seroconversion Study Report 2013 . ACON  released a 2-minute video and set up a temporary HIV rapid testing shop-front with the South East Sydney Local Health District to encourage testing over the Sydney Mardi Gras season. Read related coverage in GNN and the SMH, as well as commentary by the study's co-author John de Wit in The Conversation.

Access to HIV treatment in Victoria unfair and inequitable

Burnet Institute research has highlighted the need for a more equitable approach to HIV drug treatment distribution in Victoria and reduced financial barriers to treatment. The report was commissioned by Positive Living Victoria and the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre. Read the media release.

ASHM members published in leading journal

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the discovery of HCV, Antiviral Research published a paper by Jason Grebely and former ASHM President Greg Dore, both of the Kirby Institute, entitled Can hepatitis C virus infection be eradicated in people who inject drugs?

Have your say on new HIV prevention strategies

The Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH)’s Priorities in Prevention (PiP) study is seeking the views of people working in the HIV field regarding different HIV prevention strategies for gay men. For more information visit the PiP website.

ABC of Hepatitis Workshop for people working in a correctional environment

Hepatitis Queensland is running a free viral hepatitis training and education workshop for people who work in a correctional environment on Tuesday 18 March in Wacol, Qld. Places are limited so register now. Contact Lana at or 07 3846 0020.

Other Sector News

PNIP and Sexual Health Fact information sheet

Developed by NSW STI Programs Unit and the Australian Medicare Local Alliance, this information sheet explains the rationale for, and practicalities of, expanding the scope of primary health care nurses to include sexual health within their role, following the introduction of the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP).

Raunchy ad promotes safe sex

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance's new sexy ad Come Together promotes safe sex while at the same time celebrating its playfulness.

Call for participants: HCV Treatment Outcome Study

The Hepatitis C Treatment Outcome Study conducted at Bond University is looking for individuals preparing for HCV treatment. All information disclosed will be completely confidential. Read the flyer.

Public policy responses to chronic viral hepatitis B, hepatitis C and liver cancer in Taiwan

Asia Pacific Viral Hepatitis Policy Survey and Assessment: Taiwan seeks to assist in identifying the constituent elements of an effective public policy response to viral hepatitis throughout the Asia Pacific region. Read more about the Report.

Call to increase inclusion of transgender people within Asia-Pacific human rights, health and HIV responses

A press release by the Asia Pacific Transgender Network and the Being LGBT in Asia initiative and others is calling for urgent action to increase inclusion of transgender people within Asia-Pacific human rights, health and HIV responses. Listen to a radio interview with Joe Wong from Fronting Trans Movement, Singapore.

Research Review

The HIV Medicine Research Review and the Hepatitis Research Review feature key medical articles from global infectious disease journals with commentary from Prof Andrew Carr and Prof Stephen Riordan.

Conferences and Events

ASID 2014 – final program announced

Don't miss the 2014 ASID ASM with its splendid line up of local and international speakers in Adelaide from the 26-29 March. The final program has just been announced, and standard registration closes on Tuesday 11 March.

Submit your abstract: International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV & AIDS

The International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV & AIDS will be held 17-19 July 2014 in Sydney prior to the International AIDS Conference. This is a valuable opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to attend this conference in Australia and to showcase your work. Abstract deadline: 14 March 2014.

Australasian Sexual Health Conference 2014: Save the date

The Australasian Sexual Health Conference 2014 will be held at the Sydney Masonic Centre on 9-11 October. More information on the program, speakers and social functions will be available online soon.

2014 National Women’s Conference

The 2014 National Women’s Conference for women living with HIV will be held in Melbourne, 23-24 March and is a free event. View the conference flyer.

Singapore Hepatitis Conference, 6-7 June 2014

This conference is your opportunity to hear the latest strategies to eradicate hepatitis B and C from world leading experts. Register now to secure your place.

Articles of interest: HIV


End HIV by 2020
The Canberra Times

Olympic Champion Matthew Mitcham joins passionate members of the creative, health, research and LGBTI communities to say "test more" to end HIV by 2020.

U.S: People living with HIV should test for HBV

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has issued a draft recommendation stating that certain high-risk groups, including people with HIV, should be tested for HBV.

Roche announces launch of new HIV tests suitable for world-wide use
PR Newswire

Roche Laboratories has received CE mark certification for its new dual-target HIV-1 drug test, allowing it to be sold in the European Union and those countries accepting CE Marked products.


Truvada PrEP does not harm the kidneys, trial shows

HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with FTC/tenofovir (Truvada) is associated with only mild disturbances in kidney function, investigators report in the online edition of AIDS. Read related coverage in AIDS MAP.

Low CD4 cell count associated with a big increase in mortality risk
Clinical Infectious Diseases

A low CD4 cell count is associated with increased mortality risk, even if people are taking virologically effective HIV therapy, an international team of investigators report. Read the AIDS MAP coverage.

Opinion: will PrEP encourage unprotected sex?

Truvada may soon be available to all Britons at no cost through the country’s National Health Service. Some researchers caution that it may cause an increase in unprotected sex.

HIV infection continues to spread in some despite antiretroviral therapy

Recent data suggest that HIV continues to replicate in lymphatic tissues of some individuals taking antiretroviral drugs considered fully suppressive, drawing on the idea that constant replication is caused by lower concentrations of antiretrovirals in lymphatic tissues compared with peripheral blood. Healio covered the reseach.

HIV positve teens delaying treatment
JAMA Pediatrics

Nearly half of HIV positive teenagers and young adults forego timely treatment and delay care, which puts them at risk for dangerous infections and long-term complications.

WHO poor consultation with HIV patients denied women choice in drug treatment
BMJ - personal view

Alice Welbourn asks why does WHO not consult properly with those affected by HIV .


HIV viral blips no cause for alarm
Australian Doctor

Transient spikes in viral load are common in patients with HIV and shouldn't provoke a knee-jerk change of therapy, an Australian expert says.

HIV increases fracture risk

Investigators have found that HIV infection increases the risk of fractures, and believe their findings stress the importance of evaluating fracture risk as part of routine HIV care. Read the report in AIDS MAP.

Inflammatory cells linked to earlier HIV and HCV deaths

Certain inflammatory markers are linked to an earlier death among alcohol abusers with HIV, including those co-infected with HCV. AIDSMEDS discusses the research.

Low vitamin D predicted mortality in HIV
Journal of Infectious Diseases

This study indicates the potential prognostic value of vitamin D deficiency in predicting short-term all-cause mortality in patients with HIV.

Vaccinating HIV patients against Meningococcus

Should we be providing routine meningococcal immunisations to patients with HIV?


Nano-bullets to kill HIV
Nature India

Researchers at the National Institute of Technology, Durgapur in West Bengal have shown that carbon nanotubes are in themselves potentially therapeutic to combat HIV and related retroviruses.

Effects of switching from Stavudine to Raltegravir on subcutaneous adipose tissue in HIV-infected patients

This clinical and molecular study looks at the effects of switching from Stavudine to Raltegravir on subcutaneous adipose tissue in HIV-infected Patients with HIV/HAART-associated lipodystrophy syndrome (HALS).

Shot in the HAART: vaccine therapy for HIV
The Lancet

A recent study published in The Lancet investigated the safety and efficacy of the peptide-based therapeutic vaccine for HIV-1, Vacc-4x. This was a phase 2 randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Mental health patients up to four times more likely to be infected with HIV, study finds
Medical Xpress

People receiving mental health care are up to four times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Is PrEP ready for prime time use in HIV prevention research?

Four clinical trials have demonstrated that the antiretroviral drug emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF/FTC), normally reserved for treatment in infected persons, can provide protection from HIV when taken daily by uninfected individuals at high risk of acquiring HIV. The results of these studies of PrEP prompt the question of when - if not already - PrEP will be ready for prime time in research.


Discrimination against LGBT people triggers health concerns
The Lancet

Several countries are introducing anti-gay laws and homophobia seems to be increasing in nations usually thought of as liberal. This can have serious health consequences.

The Papua New Guinea national health and HIV research agenda (NHHRA)
The Lancet
National health research agendas are important for helping to allocate funding to research areas of greatest need.
The Papua New Guinea Health Research Policy calls for research in the country to target national health priorities.

MSD, Cipla to co-market HIV drug in India
The Hindu

In a significant development to help treat HIV patients in India, MSD and Cipla entered into a strategic partnership to market HIV medication.


HIV panic in Wollongong prompts train evacuation
Same Same

There were embarrassingly dramatic scenes in Wollongong Train Station this month when station staff evacuated an entire train after a man with a bleeding leg claimed he had HIV.

Overcoming barriers to partner notification of HIV
AIDS and Behavior

Among the most difficult barriers to preventing the spread of HIV are those that hamper the notification of sexual and needle-sharing partners that they have been exposed to the infection. In a new study, Yale researchers investigate the factors that prevent such partner notification,and suggest ways to overcome those barriers.

Jump in asylum seeker HIV cases
Perth Now

The NT Health Department says a 50 per cent spike in the number of HIV cases detected is mainly due to screening of asylum seekers in Darwin detention centres.

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi: 'Ruling out a cure for AIDS would not be French'
The Guardian

The scientist who helped discover the HIV retrovirus talks about her work and why she is convinced a cure for AIDS can be found.

HIV law prosecution conducted in secrecy 
The Courier Mail

In Tasmania, a man had been charged with offences under the HIV/AIDS Preventative Measures Act and the Public Health Act but, when the case came to court, no details of it could be published for legal reasons.

Crowd-funded HIV vaccine project sparks debate

Scientists question the tactics behind the Immunity Project's crowd-funded public campaign, which seeks to develop a vaccine that triggers immune cells called T cells to attack HIV.

Articles of interest: HCV

HCV stigma impacting Aboriginal Australians
ABC Radio

Indigenous Australians are almost three times more likely to contract HCV than the rest of the population. Research says that the stigma that comes with the disease is also claiming lives.

Sofosbuvir ‘potentially lifesaving’ for liver transplant patients with HCV
Infectious Disease Special Edition
The outlook for patients with HCV undergoing liver transplantation got a lot sunnier with the results of two studies presented at The Liver Meeting 2013.

Close link between HIV and HCV transmission networks
International Journal of Epidemiology

HIV and HCV transmission networks are closely linked, according to Swiss research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. AIDS MAP reports on this.

HCV increased risk for dying prematurely

Adults with HCV had an increased risk for dying and for dying prematurely compared with the general population, according to findings from a study conducted in New York.

Treatment failure and accelerated fibrosis progression in HCV patients

Chronic HCV patients with treatment failure remain at risk of continuing fibrosis progression. 

Developments in drug licensing in India:

Articles of interest: HBV

A nurse-led community hepatitis B clinic 
Nursing Times 

People with chronic HBV infection need life-long monitoring. This care could be provided by specialist nurses based in GP clinics.

Chronic kidney disease led to poor response to HBV vaccine

Hemodialysis patients with chronic kidney disease produce inferior immune responses to hepatitis B vaccine, with 41 per cent of dialysis patients classified as nonresponders, results of a recent study revealed.

Cuba, France to develop HBV vaccine
Cuba Headlines

French company Abivax and the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Cuba announced an agreement to partner in the development and commercialisation of vaccines, among them, one against HBV.

Articles of interest: Other STIs

Chlamydia testing too restricted
Medical Observer

Restricting chlamydia testing to patients with symptoms or those with an STI-positive partner misses almost three-quarters of cases, a survey of Australian general practice clinics has found. 

MJA focus on chlamydia

The mathematics of chlamydia's spread

The  Mathematics in Industry Study  Group have provided The Kirby Institute with an algorithm to estimate new infections which they are using to target the sectors of the community most at risk of contracting the infection.

High rates of chlamydia in country Australia
The Conversation

More men who live in rural and regional Australia contract chlamydia than previously thought and most cases of infection have no symptoms.

Utility of text message reminders to encourage retesting
This study measures the impact of SMS reminders on the reattendance rates of patients who require repeat STI testing.

Decreased susceptibility to cephalosporins among gonococci?
The Lancet

Gonorrhoeae is a growing problem and without appropriate action gonorrhoea might soon be untreatable in many settings. 

New resistant strain of gonorrhoea discovered
The Herald NZ

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has discovered a new strain of an anti-biotic resistant gonorrhoea called HO41.

Herpes vaccine safe in early trials
Medical Observer

A Vaccine being developed by Professor Ian Frazer to prevent and treat the herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) has proven to be safe in a phase 1 clinical trial.

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