ASHM News
April 2013
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Supporting the HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Workforce

KEY DATES
11-12 April 2013
16 April 2013
1 May 2013
HIV Case Discussion
Surry Hills, NSW
4 May 2013
4 May 2013

 

CONTENTS

ASHM apologises to people receiving multiple emails in the past week. This urgent IT matter is currently being dealt with.
 

HEADLINES & COMMENT

 

Meningococcal outbreak in New York

There has been an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) amongst men who have sex with men in New York and Brooklyn. Read ASHM's alert for medical practitioners, and advice for MSM travelling to New York by the Department of Health, Victoria.

 

ASHM condemns QLD sexual health cuts

ASHM is joining doctors, nurses, patients and sexual health clinic workers to protest plans to axe 40 sexual health jobs in clinics in in Brisbane, Redcliffe, Caboolture, Wide Bay, Cairns, and the Torres Strait. “The recently announced cuts to sexual health and HIV services at this crucial time is a disaster. This is a time where we need to encourage people to test and to test more frequently,” said ASHM President  A/Prof Edwina Wright. Read ASHM’s press release and follow the latest news coverage. You can also sign a petition urging the Premier of Queensland and Health Minister to commit to keeping sexual health clinics in Brisbane open. 

 

ASHM Junior Researcher Awards now open

The Junior Researcher Awards were created to foster research interests in HIV and viral hepatitis. They’re an excellent way to gain recognition of research, and develop networks and exposure for career development. Are you or any of your associates junior researchers? Why not find out more and apply.   

ASHM ORGANISATIONAL NEWS

New hepatitis B estimates show Australian prevalence is increasing

New research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health presents up to date estimates for the number of people living with hepatitis B in Australia, by priority population and by jurisdiction. It also includes modelling-based estimates for the proportion diagnosed and annual attributable mortality. Read more about this hepatitis B research.

HIV Shared Care: Specialists and GPs

The ASHM NSW HIV Shared Care Project addresses the management and monitoring of people with HIV as a chronic illness, and highlights how improved communication and compliance can strengthen and support the relationship between GPs and specialists. Read more about this project.

CROI2013: ASHM’s Report Back

In March, the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta presented latest laboratory and clinical research in HIV. If you weren’t able to attend CROI, ASHM’s CROI2013 Report Back has online reports written by ASHM President and Board Members Edwina Wright, Ed Gane and Mark Bloch from the conference.

Chronic viral hepatitis featured in RACGP’s check program

Chronic viral hepatitis has been featured in the March 2013 edition of RACGP’s Check QI&CPD program. Clinical advisors from ASHM and the Cancer Council NSW have authored seven hepatitis B and hepatitis C case-studies covering testing, diagnosis, management and referral. Six Category 2 QI&CPD points are associated with the viral hepatitis unit. Visit www.gplearning.com.au to find out more.

Sexual Health Competency Standards for Primary Healthcare Nurses

Australia’s first Sexual Health Competency Standards for Primary Healthcare Nurses will be launched from APNA’s Conference Movers and Shakers in Melbourne next month. The Competency Standards were developed by the NSW STI Programs Unit, ASHM, the Australasian Sexual Health and HIV Nurses Association (ASHHNA), the Australian Practice Nurse Association (APNA), Family Planning NSW (FPNSW) and the NSW Sexual Health Infoline (SHIL). Further information about the Competency Standards can be found on the APNA website.

ASHM’s International Strategic Plan

In March, ASHM International hosted visits from regional partners and colleagues to collaboratively work on ASHM’s International Strategic Plan 2013-2015. Representatives from the Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine (OSSHHM), Vietnamese Clinical HIV/AIDS Society (VCHAS) and the ASHM Indonesia In-county Project Officer all attended. The final strategic plan will be available in the coming months. In the meantime, you can find out more about ASHM's International Division and how you can contribute to their work.

ASHM Clinical Lecture Series a success

ASHM's inaugural Clinical Lecture Series ‘Treatment as Prevention?’ held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne late March was hailed a success. The keynote presentation was delivered by international speaker Dr Kenneth Mayer, M.D. Professor of Medicine at Harvard, and Director of Research at the Fenway Institute and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr Mayer was joined for case discussions and a lively Q&A session by ASHM President A/Prof Edwina Wright (Alfred Hospital), Prof Andrew Carr (St Vincent’s Hospital), Dr Robert Finlayson (Taylor Square Private Clinic), Prof John de Wit (UNSW), and local community representation in each city. This event was an important CPD activity for both prescribers and other health practitioners working in HIV. The evenings addressed treatment as prevention in relation to public health, individual patient benefits and risks, and looked at latest research, updates from CROI2013, and the 2013 DHHS Guidelines. The series was sponsored as part of the new ASHM Partnership Program, by Gilead Sciences. For more information please contact Elisabeth Wilkinson.

Aboriginal cultural awareness training

This Workforce Development Program (WDP)-run course on 1 May will develop your capacity to provide services to Aboriginal people in ways that recognise and value Aboriginal cultures, and that support the strengths in Aboriginal individuals, families and communities. Read more about the program on the WDP website.

OSM NEWS 

APNA Best Practice Awards in nursing 2013: Apply today

The ASHM/NSW STIPU/GPV Award in Sexual Health Nursing, part of the APNA awards in nursing - aims to recognise and reward outstanding nurses working in sexual health at a primary care level. To be eligible for the award nominees must agree to attend the 2013 APNA National Conference on 2-4 May in Melbourne either utilising funds from their award or self-funding in order. You can apply for the award through the APNA website.

SAS professional development workshops

The Society of Australian Sexologists Ltd (SAS) is holding a series of professional development workshops titled Navigating the talk... Understanding the walk! presented by Prof Barry McCarthy. These one day workshops - held in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane - will develop a more comprehensive understanding of the many sexual health issues that clients/patients may experience; the impact on the individual and the couple system; and current treatment options. You can register on the SAS website.

ASHHNA's Carol Martin Scholarship 2013: Funding to attend conferences

The Carol Martin Scholarship for 2013 is offering funding for professional development activities including conference attendance, further education and research. Visit the ASHHNA website for an application form and further information.

ACON: Program trial for HIV Positive men

ACON’s Positive Outlook: The development and evaluation of an online self-management program for men living with HIV is currently seeking participants. Recruitment is underway for two groups to begin on a trial of this program from Monday 8 April 2013. Contact Tanya Millard on 0421 049 706 for details.

OTHER SECTOR NEWS

A Pacific-led vision for HIV and other STIs

Ministry of Health representatives and stakeholders from across the region came together this month to determine the future direction of the response to HIV and other STIs in the Pacific. Making waves: Pacific-led strategy for HIV and other STIs is a series of workshops to discuss the need for a renewed regional strategy to guide the response to HIV and other STIs in the region. For more information please contact Jacinta Isaacs, Strategic Health Communication Officer, SPC Public Health Division.

Pollinate: Sydney University Medical School survey

The Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney is investigating perceptions of the future of healthcare and postgraduate study. The School  has commissioned pollinate, as an independent research agency, to conduct research with a range of clinical and non clinical practitioners who might be interested in some postgraduate study. For more information or to register your interest, email Deborah@pollinate.com.au with REF4 in the subject line.

New flagship centre for sexual health in Western Sydney

Three arms of health service including clinical, research and education, have now come together to form the Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre (WSSHC). The service brings together the Parramatta and Mt Druitt Sexual Health clinics and the Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre, which is affiliated with the University of Sydney. More information about the amalgamation can be found on the ASHM website and the Sydney University News Page.

Hepatitis QLD offering World Hepatitis Day small grants

Hepatitis Queensland wants to support community organisations to coordinate activities for World Hepatitis Day this year and is making a limited number of small grants of up to $1000 available. Deadlines close May 17. Further information about the grants can be found on the Hepatitis Queensland website, or contact Jodie Walton (07)3846 0020.

Hepatitis B Positive Speaker project

Hepatitis Australia has been funded to develop a small group of Hepatitis B Positive Speakers for education and advocacy purposes. You can read more about the project, and if you would like to refer people living with HBV that might be interested in becoming positive speakers please contact Jacqui Richmond, Project Manager, Hepatitis B Speakers Bureau.

The Australian Immunisation Handbook 2013

The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition (the Handbook) is now available online. This edition of the Handbook has expanded information on recommendations for immunocompromised people, as well as information regarding HPV vaccination for men who have sex with men.

ARTICLES OF INTEREST: HIV

Barriers to a cure for HIV: new ways to target and eradicate HIV-1 reservoirs

New research published in The Lancet says that ART for HIV infection has limitations, in that it needs lifelong access and strict adherence to regimens that are both expensive and associated with toxic effects. Researchers argue that a curative intervention will be needed to fully stop the epidemic.

Early HIV drugs 'functionally cure about one in 10'

Rapid treatment after HIV infection may be enough to "functionally cure" about a 10th of those diagnosed early, say researchers in France. Read the study in PLOS and see the related BBC coverage.

Widespread ‘test and treat’ could increase dangerous drug resistance, study finds

A new study published by the University of Southern California warns that 'test and treat' could rapidly and dramatically increase the prevalence of multiple-drug-resistant (MDR) HIV.

Nanoparticles loaded with bee venom can kill HIV

A study in Antiviral Therapy reveals that Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy HIV while leaving surrounding cells unharmed. Science Daily summarises the findings.

HIV linked to higher chance of heart attack

People with HIV are almost 50 per cent more likely to have a heart attack than those who aren't infected with the virus - even after taking into account their other health risks, according to a new study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Community bars net $11K for NZAF

Auckland gay community bars URGE and Caluzzi presented an impressive $11,000 cheque to the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF). NZAF welcomed the donation and says the money will be used to help pay for new HIV testing technology, fund outreach testing clinics and resource the growing volume of counselling for people living with or at risk of HIV.

Lifelong ART for HIV-infected pregnant women prevents infection in children, study finds

A study published in PLOS ONE found that providing life-long ART to HIV-positive pregnant women not only prevents HIV infections in infants, but also improves the 10-year survival rate in mothers.

ARTICLES OF INTEREST: HCV

Hepatitis C virus rarely transmitted through monogamous sex

Individuals infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have nothing to fear from sex in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Transmission of HCV from an infected partner during sex is rare according to new research published in the March issue of News Medical.

Patient dilemma: Treat hepatitis C now or hold out?

Doctors face an ethical dilemma in advising people whether to wait to seek treatment for hepatitis C, particularly when advising patients with mid-stage liver damage. A growing number of people infected with hepatitis C are putting off therapy, choosing instead to roll the dice and wait for a new generation of drugs to become available but with delayed treatment come risks. Read the Wall Street Journal news item.

Even moderate drinking may be risky with hepatitis C

A U.S. study has linked moderate alcohol consumption with an increased risk of death for people living with HCV - and not just from liver disease. The findings, published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, support what liver specialists typically recommend - that people with hepatitis C should limit their alcohol use.

ARTICLES OF INTEREST: HBV

Mother-to-child hepatitis B transmission continues despite vaccination and immunoglobulin administration

Australian researchers reveal that mother-to-child transmission of HBV continues to occur despite the interventions of HBV vaccination and immunoglobulin, with high maternal viral load being the most significant risk factor in transmission.

ARTICLES OF INTEREST: OTHER STIs

GPs offering free sex-club vouchers

A study published in Sexual Health reports that Brisbane GPs have been offering vouchers for free entry to sex clubs as a way to encourage gay men to undergo STI checks. An article on the study published in Australian Doctor says that despite the low uptake, the authors of the study remain optomistic about the study.

Super gonorrhoea spreads to Parliament House

A strain of super gonorrhoea spread to Parliament House last night, as NPS MedicineWise (joined by GP and sexual health specialist Dr Cindy Pan) highlighted the spread of super infections and the need to battle antibiotic resistance. The stuffed gonorrhoea toys were part of NPS MedicineWise’s launch of its policy priorities in Canberra. Read the story on PostScript.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

Keynote speakers announced: Australasian HIV and AIDS Conference, Darwin 2013

The Australasian HIV and AIDS Conference to be held 21 - 23 October 2013 has secured the following excellent keynote speakers: Brigitte Autran (France), Robert Wilkinson (South Africa), Mark Dybul (USA), George Ayala (USA), and Catherine Campbell (UK). Full biographical information will be available on the website soon. Abstract submission and registration will open in May.

ASID Gram Negative “Superbugs” Meeting 2013: Registrations open

Registrations and poster abstract submissions are now open for the Gram Negative “Superbugs” Meeting 2013. Find out more about the meeting, submit a poster abstract, and register now.

The 2013 Australasian Sexual Health Conference: website launched

The 2013 Australasian Sexual health Conference website has been launched. There you will be able to view the registration rates, program overview, location information and plenty more.

2013 Health in Difference Conference – standard registrations are coming to a close

Register now for the 2013 Health in Difference Conference, 18 - 20 April 2013, St Kilda Novotel, Melbourne. There are only a few weeks left to register, get in quick!

Drug and alcohol public forum, Sydney University 

Sydney University is holding a drug & alcohol public forum debate on 30 April, 7pm. The debate will discuss new ideas to tackle drug and alcohol problems in our society. The high profile panel includes Dr Alex Woodak, Jane Sauders and Reverend Fred Nile, among others. For more information, see the event flyer.

Sexual health nursing: Expanding the scope of primary care nurses

The Sexual health nursing: Expanding the scope of primary care nurses course is a preconference workshop to be run adjacent to the APNA Conference, on 2 May in Melbourne. Coordinated by ASHM and aligned with the Sexual Health Nursing Competency Standards for Primary Healthcare Nurses, the workshop has been developed through a collaboration between NSW STI Programs Unit, APNA, and ASHHNA and will be delivered with support from General Practice Victoria’s sh3ed Program. View the conference registration information or contact Baldwin Consulting Group (03) 9645 9858 for further information.

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