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August 2013
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Supporting the HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Workforce

15 August 2013
17 august 2013
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27 august 2013
28 august 2013
3 sept 2013
4 november 2013






World Hepatitis Day - but what happens next?

"We have just celebrated another World Hepatitis Day, marking Baruch Blumberg's birthday. Was the day a success this year? It was in many people's eyes, but I have concerns though; a few actually." Read the commentary from ASHM’s Clinical Director – Viral Hepatitis, Prof Bob Batey.


ASHM Organisational News

New trial to test HIV prevention measures: ASHM President on Radio National


ASHM President A/Prof Edwina Wright is leading a new HIV AIDS trial in Victoria that will test the effectiveness of anti viral drugs by administering them to people who are HIV negative. The Victorian Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Demonstration project, led by Monash University and Alfred Health, will initially recruit roughly 200 Victorians from at-risk populations. Listen to Radio National’s Fran Kelly interview Edwina Wright about the trial.


Hepatitis B featured in Australian Doctor's 'Therapy Update'

ASHM Board Member Dr Ben Cowie's article hepatitis B 'Therapy Update' was published in Australian Doctor, providing GPs with practical information about preventing liver cancer through the prevention, management and treatment of the blood-borne virus. The article highlights the new hepatitis B online learning module produced by ASHM and Cancer Council NSW, available from


HBV prescriber program formally accredited

In March the NSW Ministry of Health issued a policy change formally recognising GP s100 community prescribers for HBV maintenance prescribing. To become accredited, GPs must first complete ASHM’s advanced HBV management course and pass a set of case assessments. The next advanced course will run from 22-23 November in Sydney. Contact Anne Fredrickson for more details. 

2013 Sexual Health Medicine Award for innovation in service delivery 

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) (Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine) has awarded Dr Arun Menon its 2013 Sexual Health Medicine Award for innovation in service delivery in Sexual Health. Dr Menon, Director of Sexual Health, Townsville Hospital and Health Service, received the award for his innovation in helping lead the response to north-west Queensland's syphilis outbreak earlier this year, and his work in Papua New Guinea opening sexual health clinics to treat HIV/STIs and training health workers, including doctors from Pacific Island nations, in the management of HIV/AIDS. Congratulations to Arun, who is also one of ASHM International's mentors.

New ASHM Resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers

ASHM has developed a new resource to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Blood-Borne Viruses is a practical guide to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, the three main blood-borne viruses (BBVs). Find out more about this resource.

ASHM releases HIV Point of Care Testing (PoCT) position paper 

ASHM is currently developing a national curriculum to ensure that the workforce performing HIV PoCT is consistently trained, and to ensure devices are used appropriately and results are interpreted accurately. Pathologists, laboratory scientists, social and behavioural scientists, nurses and clinicians are providing vital input. This work is in line with ASHM’s position paper on PoCT.

Jade Fan event to raise HBV awareness

To mark NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week, Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), Western Sydney Medicare Local (WSML) and ASHM hosted an information session as part of the Jade Fan hepatitis B awareness campaign. The event was covered by local media, and attracted community members and other stakeholders.

Pacific HIV/AIDS health care workers capacity building program

ASHM and the Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine (OSSHHM) have received funding from the AusAID Regional HIV/AIDS Capacity Building Program 2012-2014 to develop and deliver an innovative training package that combines clinical HIV knowledge with leadership and training skills. Demonstrating the benefits of ‘south-south’ partnerships, seven healthcare workers from the Fiji islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have completed the first phase of this training program in Papua New Guinea.

ASHM voices support for new Indigenous Health Plan

ASHM has voiced its support for the new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan jointly released by Ministers Macklin, Plibersek and Snowden on 23 July 2013. 'Providing high-quality and clinically appropriate care that is tailored to meet the individual's health needs is a basic human right and we will be encouraging ASHM members to not only read the new National Health Plan, but also work to make it a reality,' Ms Crooks said in a press release.

ASHM endorses NACCHO's 10 Point Plan to 'Close The Gap'

ASHM has endorsed the recently released NACCHO 10 Point Plan - Investing in Health Futures for Generational Change. ASHM CEO Levinia Crooks says that the model of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working to improve the health of their own communities, detailed in the NACCHO Plan, is a solid step towards achieving improved health outcomes, and 'closing the gap' by 2030.

ASHM's Junior Researcher Awards - winners announced

Each year ASHM offers the Junior Researcher Support Awards. These awards were created to foster research interests in HIV and viral hepatitis, and give winners a chance to present their work at a major conference: either the HIV&AIDS, or the Viral Hepatitis Conferences. Take a look at this year's award winners.

Hepatology nursing in focus at ICN 2013

ASHM Clinical Advisor Jacqui Richmond presented an abstract at the International Nursing Congress held in Melbourne in May. The presentation focused on the ASHM-AHA partnership that provides strategic, high-level education and support to hepatology nurses, profiling the professional collaboration at a significant international nursing conference.

ASHM International supports Vietnam Conference

ASHM President A/Prof Edwina Wright and ASHM Senior Project Officer Duc Nguyen recently visited Vietnam for the 2013 Vietnam National Scientific Conference of Infectious Diseases and HIV/AIDS. ASHM provided technical and financial assistance to the conference in partnership with other international agencies and institutions in Vietnam. Read more about this conference

New HBV online education for primary care providers

In partnership with Cancer Council NSW, ASHM recently launched Preventing Liver Cancer through Diagnosis and Management of Hepatitis B, a new online learning module for GPs. This free RACGP-accredited activity provides information on HBV testing, vaccination, and management. Visit to find out more and to access the module.

New audio-visual resource for health workers

In July, ASHM and the NSW Workforce Development Program released B Seen, B Heard: Hepatitis B From Our Perspective. Featuring speakers who share their personal experiences of HBV, this audio-visual resource aims to increase understanding of HBV and reduce stigma and discrimination. Clips are available online at and DVD copies can be ordered from

World Hepatitis Day

ASHM's Ben Cowie calls for greater regional HBV support

"It is essential that Australia adopt a broader prevention approach that includes supporting our neighbours so they can improve HBV vaccination coverage,” said ASHM's Ben Cowie and colleagues from the Burnet Institute in an article written for The Conversation.

New data: 1 person dies every 30 seconds from viral hepatitis in Asia Pacific

On World Hepatitis Day, CEVHAP members asked governments to embrace the WHO’s new Global Framework for Action to halt the death toll and save the lives of the one million people that die every year from viral hepatitis across Asia Pacific.

Economist report: the impact of viral hepatitis on human health

Based on data on the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, a new Economist report estimates that in 2010 1.44 million people globally died from viral hepatitis, including 1,727 viral hepatitis related deaths in Australia.

Treating people who use drugs is the first step towards eliminating HCV

The burden of liver disease could be dramatically reduced by increasing treatment for HCV among people who inject drugs, suggest new recommendations developed by researchers from the Kirby Institute, UNSW, in collaboration with colleagues from the International Network on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users (INHSU) and other international researchers and clinicians. These recommendations are part of a supplement published in Clinical Infectious Disease highlighting recent advances and novel findings, and illustrating strategies that may enhance prevention and care. You can read the editorial Moving the Agenda Forward: The Prevention and Management of Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among People Who Inject Drugs.

HCV infection falls among Australians who inject drugs: Op-Ed

A recent Australian study of people who inject drugs found that the number of new cases of HCV infection dropped by more than half between 1995 and 2010. In the largest national study of its kind in the world, researchers from the Kirby Institute examined data from nearly 36,000 people attending needle syringe programs between 1995-2010.

Doctors overlooking hep D risk

A recent article published in the Internal Medicine Journal has found that most people diagnosed with chronic HBV in Victoria are not tested for hepatitis D, a co-infection that complicates management and treatment, despite the recommendations of clinical guidelines that all people with HBV be tested. The study also found that around 5% of those tested were positive for hepatitis D, and that being born overseas has become an increasingly important risk factor for infection, in addition to injecting drug use.

Strengthening the continuum of care with GPs

At a recent workshop hosted by Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts, Hepatitis NSW member Andrew Little provided the hepatitis consumer perspective. Andrew outlined why building treatment and care in general practice matters to people living with HBV or HBC, and how clients need specialist service and general practice to interact. Read more about the workshop.

IAS News

IAS Conference Review

A review of the 7th International AIDS Society Conference (IAS 2013) is now available. This review was carried out independently by Prof Andrew Carr and aims to allow those unable to attend the conference to access a summary of some of the presentations.

Other Sector News

HIV General Practice Workforce Project: a summary

To investigate the rewards and challenges of providing HIV care in general practice settings around Australia, a national, qualitative study was conducted, comprising in-depth interviews with key informants and clinicians, cataloguing opinions about and experiences of providing general practice based HIV care in different caseload and geographical settings across Australia. Read the research summary.

South Australia AIDS Council closure

After 30 years serving its local communities, South Australia’s only dedicated LGBTI health and support service has had to shut its doors. The AIDS Council of SA’s nine staff have been made redundant and the Keswick office closed. “This decision will affect HIV prevention for gay men in South Australia. It is unnecessary and ought to be reversed,” said Rob Lake, Executive Director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), in an interview on ABC Radio.

Articles of interest: HIV & STIs

PM Rudd slams Queensland sexual health clinic cuts

Prime Minister Rudd has accused the Queensland Government of putting the community's health at risk as the controversial decision to severely cut services at the Brisbane Sexual Health Clinic attracts widespread criticism from medical experts, specialist physicians and other politicians.

HIV cure research received $1.4m new funding 

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, has announced a new round of grants through its amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE) program. Totaling more than $1.4 million, the grants will support four teams of scientists working at leading research institutions around the world. This year's grants will enable researchers from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Thailand, and Australia to collaborate on studies exploring potential strategies for eliminating HIV infection.

Oz not safe from super gonorrhoea

Australian Doctor: It is only a matter of time before extensively drug-resistant gonorrhoea is found in Australia, experts predict, amid a sustained rise in rates of the STI.

Treatments emerge for drug-resistant gonorrhoea 

Wall Street Journal: Researchers have identified three new antibiotic regimens to treat gonorrhea, offering options for this common STI.

Conferences & Events

promises & limitations : Biomedical treatment and prevention in the real world

The Centre for Social Research in Health (formerly the National Centre in HIV Social Research) invites you to the 13th Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Related Diseases to be held 20-21 February 2014 at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. This Conference is integral to Australia's efforts in understanding the social and behavioural dynamics of blood-borne viral epidemics and sexually transmissible infections. Registration now open.

Forum: Changing landscape of sexual health services in Queensland

The Sexual Health Society of Queensland is holding a forum to discuss the changing landscape of sexual health services in QLD on Saturday 17 August 2013. The event is part of its Annual General Meeting and is free to current SHSQ members. RSVP to by Wednesday 12 August 2013. 

National Conference for Women Living with HIV 2014

Positive Women Victoria (PWV) are organising a national conference for women living with HIV, in Melbourne in late March 2014.The conference will focus on health, advocacy and building networks for women living with HIV.For further information please contact Hilary Knack (03) 9863 8747.

The International Anal Neoplasia Society’s Inaugural Annual Meeting

Come to San Francisco in November to benefit from invited presentations, oral abstract and poster presentations, and a lively scientific interchange on anal HPV infection, anal squamous intraepithelial lesions and anal cancer. Register before August 31, 2013 to receive the early bird rate. Find out more about the IANS Meeting.

Seminar: Could tattooists deliver harm-reduction information?

CSRH hosts a series of research seminars where CSRH staff, postgraduate students and other stakeholders share their work outside the Centre. These seminars are attended by a range of professionals who work with people affected by HIV, viral hepatitis and illicit drugs. Next in the series on Wednesday, 14 August is Ms Hannah Wilson, CSRH, assessing the potential role of tattooists in delivering harm-reduction information to at-risk clients

Sex Talk 2013

The Melbourne Sexual Health Centre nursing team would like to invite you to Sex Talk 2013, a professional development day for nurses, medical practitioners and allied health workers on Saturday 21 September 2013. Sex Talk usually attracts as many as 80 participants from all health areas: doctors, nurses, health workers; rural to urban, metro; within Victoria and SA, NSW, Tasmania. View the Sex Talk flyer.

SEXrurality: Sexual Health and Relationships in Our Rural Communities Conference

Scheduled for August 19-20 this year, this inaugural conference has been initiated by the Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH), which aims to provide strategic leadership and advocacy, and work in partnership with rural communities, networks and agencies to improve sexual health and well-being in rural Victoria. But be quick: registration is about to close. Register now.

Symposium: Fibroscans - The machine that goes ping

The renewed NSW hepatitis workforce network HEPLINK will be launched on 27 September with a HepLink Symposium, also being delivered as a webinar. The symposium, titled Fibroscans - The machine that goes ping, will explore whether increasing liver assessments and fibroscans can encourage better liver health, treatment and care, or are our systems already stretched to capacity? For more information email

Early bird for HIV&AIDS and Sexual Health Conferences approaching

If you're planning on going to Darwin for the 2013 HIV&AIDS and Sexual Conferences don't delay with registration. Early bird closes on 23 August 2013. Register now to make great savings

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