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Supporting the HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Workforce
23 FEBRUARY 2013
26 february 2013
1 & 13 MARCH 2013
14 MARCH 2013
16 MARCH 2013
21 MARCH 2013


More news anyone?

For this edition of ASHMNews we thought we’d try something a little different. We put together a fair bit of content for you, so for your convenience we added a table of contents. Just click on the headings below and it will take you right to the section you want to read. 

Headlines & Comment
ASHM organisational news
News from our Organisational Sustaining Members
Other sector news
Articles of interest: HIV 
Articles of interest: HCV
Articles of interest: HBV 
Articles of interest: STIs
Conferences and Events





New studies in NEJM show benefits of early ART: Australian co-authors offer their viewpoint 

Two recent papers in The New England Journal of Medicine, one co-authored by ASHM President A/Prof Edwina Wright: Enhanced CD4+ T-Cell Recovery with Earlier HIV-1 Antiretroviral Therapy and the other co-authored by ASHM Board Member Prof David Cooper and ASHM Member A/Prof Anthony Kelleher: Short-Course Antiretroviral Therapy in Primary HIV Infection suggest that starting ART early after HIV infection is diagnosed may improve patients' immune response. Edwina Wright and Anthony Kelleher answer our questions about their respective research.

Exciting breakthrough in Australian research could provide key treatment for HIV

ASHM member A/Prof David Harrich from the QIMR’s Molecular Virology Laboratory has developed a way to use HIV to beat HIV in the laboratory. Harrich has determined how to modify a protein in the virus, so that it instead provides strong, lasting protection from infection. “This is like fighting fire with fire,” he said. The research has made headlines internationally. Read QIMR’s press release.

Cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhoea identified in North America

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found, for the first time, several cases of N gonorrhoea in Canada. The presence of this cefiximein-resistant N. gonorrhoea strain is leading some experts to warn of a “public health nightmare” in North America. Read ASHM Member A/Prof David Whiley and A/Prof Monica Lahra's comment on the significance of this study. This year, ASID will be holding Australia’s first ever meeting to focus exclusively on this type of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The Gram Negative “Superbugs” Meeting, to be held on the Gold Coast from August 2-3, will draw together the range of professions that hold the key to successful antibiotic stewardship in Australasia.

The Global Burden of Disease: commentary by Dr Ben Cowie

In December the Lancet dedicated an entire issue to the Global Budren of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010), the largest systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors. ASHM Board Member Dr Ben Cowie provided ASHMNews with a commentary on the study.


Call for nominations: ASHM Board Sub-Committee for the Provision of Clinical Advice on HIV Management

ASHM is seeking nominations from clinicians and scientists with expertise and experience in HIV management to join its newly formed Board Sub-Committee for the Provision of Clinical Advice on HIV Management. One of the primary roles of the Sub-Committee will be to oversee the development of ASHM’s clinical guidance on HIV management and antiretroviral guidelines. Please read the TOR and Policy on the Provision of Clinical Guidance on HIV Management before you complete your online application. Deadline for applications is COB 12 February 2013.

Hepatitis B nursing course

ASHM received funding from BMS and Gilead to deliver the ASHM/AHA Hepatitis B Nursing: Advanced Nursing Management and Care course in 2013. The course is designed to provide nurses with advanced, practical skills and knowledge in hepatitis B. To aid us in determining the best location to hold this course, we're inviting you to register your interest by contacting Elisabeth Wilkinson.

Hepatitis B: Making serology results easier to use

ASHM has received an unconditional education grant from Gilead to oversee the development and implementation of simple wording for hepatitis B pathology reporting to help GPs better diagnose and manage patients. A working group is currently being formed and a consultation forum will be held as part of the Communicable Diseases Conference being held in Canberra in March 2013. Read more about this project, and contact Vanessa Towell for more information.

ASHM Conference and Events Services

Did you know that ASHM also offers conference and event management services? Not only do we have extensive expertise in delivering highly successful medical and scientific conferences, but our services also extend to media (including social media), PR & marketing and the hiring of event tools such as keypads. So if you’re looking for a professional team to run your whole event from start to finish, or just need some additional support with press releases, staffing or equipment, contact Nadine Giatras on 02 8204 0772 or visit the Conference and Events Services webpage.


Still no PBS funding for new HCV drugs

Despite the Treat Us Well campaign gaining traction with key opinion leaders, the Australian government has still not funded the new HCV treatment drugs boceprevir and telaprevir on the PBS. To keep the issue alive Hepatitis NSW has changed the campaign to Treat Us Better; run a forum in Western Sydney to highlight the lack of action; and tweeted a series of messages to ensure the urgency is made clear to policy makers. For more information contact David Pieper.

New NCHSR-led study on HIV risk perceptions

A newly published paper titled HIV-Negative Gay Men’s Perceived HIV Risk Hierarchy: Imaginary or Real? outlines new investigations led by NCHSR researchers into risk perceptions and risk practices among HIV-negative gay men.  In furthering our understanding of risk behaviours, the research findings will help address the challenges that arise from the move to “Treatment as Prevention”.

ARCHSH HIV and Hep C testing course

This comprehensive 4.5 day accreditation program is designed to equip participants with appropriate knowledge and skills to engage in pre and post HIV and hepatitis C antibody test discussions and prevention education in a range of settings. Go online for more information.

The University of Queensland HIV & HCV Education Projects

The HIV & HCV Education Projects at the University of Queensland School of Medicine provide evidence-based public health education for Queensland health care professionals, specialising in the domains of HIV, sexual health and viral hepatitis. There are 17 education courses for 2013. Click here to apply.

The Illusion of Intimacy: SHSQ and SAS joint clinical meeting

The Society of Australian Sexologists (SAS, previously ASSERT National) is a multidisciplinary organisation for people working in sexual health with a focus on sexuality, encompassing positive sexuality and management of sexual difficulties for individuals and couples, same sex included. On 30 April 2013 SAS and the Sexual Health Society of Queensland will be holding a joint clinical meeting. The topic is The Illusion of Intimacy: Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives on Sexual Risk Taking & Sexual Addiction. Mr Jayme Koerselman, from the School of Counselling, Laidlaw College, Auckland, New Zealand will be presenting. Please RSVP to Brad Reuter.

ASHHNA Carol Martin Scholarship now open

Members of ASHHNA are invited to apply for the Carol Martin Scholarship, which provides funding for professional development activities including conference attendance, further education and research. Visit the scholarship page on ASHHNA’s site to apply.

Hepatitis NSW offers new clinical service

Hepatitis NSW is taking the leap into clinical services this year with the launch of Let’s Talk, the Hepatitis NSW Counselling Service, which offers people living with hepatitis a professional and empathic ear through which to address concerns and achieve positive outcomes. Hepatitis NSW also runs Live Well - a 6 week course for anyone who is living with HCV in the Sydney area.  For more information please contact Fungisai Foto.

Living Positive Victoria: position statement on early HIV treatment, and the ENUF campaign

Living Positive Victoria has released a position statement on early HIV treatment for individual benefit and for prevention. Living Positive Victoria CEO Brent Allen said that "this is a priority issue for Living Positive Victoria and for our members." Read the official media release. The organisation also launched a new campaign: ENUF, which calls on HIV-positive people to share their stories of stigma and resilience and will use these to challenge discrimination. The stories will feature in campaign messages such as t-shirts, billboards, posters and magazine articles in the lead up to AIDS 2014.


ASHM welcomes introduction of Australia’s first registered PoCT

In mid-January, Victoria announced that it would make rapid HIV tests widely available free of charge under a state government-funded trial, in partnership with the Burnet Institute and the Victorian AIDS Council. ASHM CEO Levinia Crooks said to Australian Doctor "We hope and anticipate that this simple, first-line screening will encourage those most at risk of HIV to come forward for testing by making the process easier". Read ASHM’s press release on PoCT.

AIDS 2014 Regional Programme Committee Members selected

The members of the AIDS 2014 Programme Committees have been announced. ASHM congratulates the regional representatives on the committees: Marama Pala, New Zealand joins the Community Programme Committee; Bill Bowtell joins the Leadership & Accountability Programme Committee. The following people were appointed scientific track Co-Chairs: Anthony Kelleher, Track A: Basic & Translational Research; Jenny Hoy, Track B: Clinical Research; Andrew Grulich, Track C: Epidemiology and Prevention Research; John de Wit, Track D: Social & Political Research, Law, Policy & Human Rights; Ashok Alexander, India joins Track E: Implementation Research, Economics, Systems & Synergies with other Health and Development Sectors. Read the media release.

Hep C: Going Viral

In 2013 Hepatitis Victoria will be trialing a pilot online chronic disease self-management course for people with HCV, or a history of HCV. For more information please contact Louisa Walsh.


BHIVA & EAGA position statement on the use of ART to reduce HIV transmission

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) and the Expert Advisory Group on AIDS (EAGA) recently released a new position statement on reducing HIV transmissions. The position statement by BHIVA and EAGA summarises extensive discussion about various aspects of the scientific data and includes some explanatory notes where there are areas of controversy.

New insights into HIV vaccine will improve drug development

Researchers have gained additional insights into the workings of a vaccine developed four years ago, which fell short of providing the broad protection necessary to stem the spread HIV, and explain why it benefited a third of recipients and left others vulnerable. The findings, reported Immunity January 10, provide new options for vaccine designers to strengthen the drug.

Immune cells engineered in lab to resist HIV infection

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have found a novel way to engineer key cells of the immune system so they remain resistant to infection with HIV. The study, published in the January 22 issue of Molecular Therapy, describes the use of a kind of molecular scissors to cut and paste a series of HIV-resistant genes into T cells. The genome editing was made in a gene that the virus uses to gain entry into the cell.

Court ruling highlights the importance of maintenance of medical records and processes

A man who contracted HIV from his partner after she received an all-clear on her HIV status by a GP will receive $400,000 in compensation. The ruling is significant in that it reaffirms that medical practices, as well as individual doctors, have a duty of care to keep up-to-date patient medical records.


The silent pandemic: Tackling hepatitis C with policy innovation

A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit says that world governments will have to face up to the challenges posed by the hep C pandemic or experience spiralling healthcare costs. Poor data and low awareness mean people are diagnosed with HCV in the late stages of the disease, when presenting with its end-stage conditions such as cirrhosis or liver cancer, it says. In Australia, an official media release published by key stakeholders highlighted that more than 225,000 Australians are infected with HCV, yet only 2% receive treatment. Professor Jacob George, Director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Westmead Hospital said that fear of stigma is still a major impediment to HCV patients getting treatment. Hepatitis Australia President Stuart Loveday warned that buying tattooing and piercing kits online could be unwittingly spreading the virus, and called for PBS listing of two HCV drugs. Read the full report The Silent Pandemic.

We need to give hope on hepatitis C

Teresa Gambaro, chair of the Parliamentary Group for HIV, Blood Borne Viruses and STIs, spoke out in The Australian on the importance of having boceprevir and telaprevir on the PBS. In July 2012 both drugs were recommended by PBAC to be listed on the PBS but the request is still to be considered by federal cabinet.


Letter to the Editor MJA: Liver cancer in Australia

ASHM Board Member Ben Cowie and colleague Jennifer MacLachlan wrote a Letter to the Editor published in the November edition of the Medical Journal of Australia, warning of the rise of liver cancer rates in Australia and urging for - inter alia - increased access to treatment and further education of health professionals on viral hepatitis, which is the major cause of primary liver cancer in Australia. Read Jennifer MacLachlan's commentary on the Letter


Chlamydia retesting needs attention

Only a small proportion of young people who test positive to Chlamydia at Family Planning Clinics (FPCs) are getting retested, a study has found. The research, published by the CSIRO, showed 40% of young FPC attendees were tested for Chlamydia, but the retesting rate was just 36% after a 12-month period. The CSIRO recommended patient reminders and clinical prompts to boost retesting rates. 


Communicable Disease Control Conference update

Professor Karl Ekdahl, Head of Public Health Capacity and Communication Unit, ECDC, Sweden, is confirmed to present at this year’s Communicable Disease Control Conference (CDC) in March. The CDC will be held back-to-back with the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) Annual Scientific Meeting. Both events will be held in Canberra at the Hyatt Hotel. Visit the website for more details on Prof. Ekdahl, other confirmed speakers and the current program, and don’t forget standard registration deadline is Tuesday 12 March.

Save the date: 2013 HIV and AIDS Conference and Australasian Sexual Health Conference

Schedule the dates in your diary: the 2013 HIV and AIDS Conference will be held 21-23 October, back to back with the 2013 Australasian Sexual Health Conference, held on 23-25 October, in Darwin. Begin planning your trip to the Top End now. Remember, ASHM Members get a significant discount for the HIV and AIDS Conference or for joint registration, and this year will also receive advance opportunities to book accommodation. Become a member now

2013 New Zealand HIV Update confirmed

This Update will take place on April 12 at the Auckland City Hospital, providing an opportunity for the presentation of clinical updates and local research as well as networking for healthcare professionals involved in the care of persons living with HIV. Prof Andrew Carr, the Director of the HIV, Immunology and Infectious Diseases Unit at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney is the keynote speaker. For details contact Amy Watson.

ASHM Clinical Lecture Series: HIV - Treatment as Prevention?

ASHM is inviting HIV prescribers, specialists and other HIV health professionals to the inaugural ASHM Clinical Lecture Series HIV: Treatment as Prevention? to be held in March in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, made available thanks to an unconditional educational grant from Gilead. Travel scholarships are available for regional/interstate HIV s100 prescribers. Visit ASHM’s courses page or contact Elisabeth Wilkinson.

Short course in sexual health nursing 1-2 March 2013, Parramatta NSW

This course is designed for Registered and Enrolled Nurses whose patients have, or are at risk of, blood borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmissible infections (STIs). It will provide nurses with the introductory practice skills and knowledge to incorporate sexual health screening and management into their current area of specialty. The course is free for all nurses in NSW and travel scholarships may be available. Register online and email Emily Wheeler for more information.

ASID Annual Scientific Meeting Update

Professor David O. Freedman (USA), Professor Henrik C. Wegener (Denmark), Dr Abdul Ghafur (India), Professor Karl Ekdahl (Sweden), Dr Gina Samaan (Indonesia) will present at the ASID Annual Scientific Meeting. Visit the website for the current program and to register.

The 2013 Gram negative “Superbugs” Meeting

In August, ASID is holding a two-day Gram negative “Superbugs” Meeting on the Gold Coast, bringing together clinicians, microbiologists, pharmacists, infection control nurses, researchers and others from across the region. Providing latest information and techniques to build professional skills, the international and national speakers will also help identify regional trends and needs, and shape the future of Australasia’s response to this global threat. Abstract submissions deadline 25 April 2013. Early bird deadline 24 May 2013. To register for this meeting please email To receive the e-newsletter, please email your name and email address with the subject heading "Gram negative e-newsletter". Visit the ASID website for further information.

Toward an HIV Cure Symposium, Kuala Lumpur 29-30 June 2013

The 2013 Towards an HIV Cure symposium will take place on 29 - 30 June 2013, immediately preceding the 7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If you are interested in attending the event, please register online before 15 March 2013 as places are limited. The IAS will invite submissions of abstracts pertinent to HIV cure research; relevant abstracts submitted to the IAS 2013 Conference can be considered for oral or poster presentation at the symposium. Late Breaker abstract submission opens on 3 April until 7 May.

Viruses in May

Viruses in May is an annual intensive clinical virology update for clinicians, scientists and trainees in this discipline. This year, the meeting will be held on the 9-11 May 2013, at the scenic Blue Mountains town Katoomba, NSW. For registration and program visit the website.

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Australasian Society for HIV Medicine
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