February 2014
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Supporting the HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Workforce
11 february 2014
12 february 2014
18 february 2014
22 february 2014
25 february 2014
28 february 2014
1-2 march 2014
4 march 2014
6-7 march 2014
9 march 2014
13 march 2014
14 march 2014
15-16 march 2014
30 march 2014
12-13 APRIL 2014



Welcome to the first edition of ASHMNews for 2014

Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of ASHMNews for 2014.

One of the most exciting developments to kick start 2014 was the announcement at the end of last year that the PBAC is removing the CD4 + <500 count criteria for prescribing s100 medicines for HIV treatment. ASHM, together with AFAO and NAPWHA, worked long and hard on this submission. A special thanks goes to ASHM's President A/Prof Edwina Wright, who chaired the submission. Read ASHM's media release and the media coverage in the GayNewsNetwork and the Guardian.

We would also like to introduce you to our new staff member Dr Graeme MacDonald, Viral Hepatitis Clinical Advisor. We look forward to the skills and experience he will bring to our program.

And of course this is the year of AIDS 2014. Registration for the conference is now open and in a unique partnership with the IAS, you can  renew or sign up to ASHM's membership program at the same time as registering for AIDS 2014, and enjoy significant discounts on your membership fee. So whether you are a new or returning ASHM member, we strongly urge you to take advantage of this offer.


ASHM Organisational News

ASHM is hiring!      ASHM is seeking Expressions of Interest from clinicians and nurses who have experience in viral hepatitis and work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Successful candidates would sign a service agreement with ASHM to work as a clinical advisor on a casual basis. For more information and to send applications please contact Vanessa Towell 02 8204 0762. Deadline COB Wed 12 Feb.


Aged care workers & HIV: Have your say

ASHM is seeking input regarding the possible development of a resource to inform and educate aged care workers about HIV. Participation in this short survey from anyone working in aged care is very welcome.


Hepatitis B serology: New guide to help GPs

Guided by an expert working group, ASHM has developed a new guide for pathology providers, containing recommendations for best practice interpretive comments when reporting results for HBV serology. The comments recommended in Interpreting hepatitis B serology: Recommended wording for national laboratories to report hepatitis B diagnostic test results aim to assist general practitioners in the appropriate diagnosis and management of people with HBV, by improving their understanding and interpretation of HBV serology results.


Save the Date: 2014 Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference

Dates are now secured for the 2014 Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference.

Come to Alice Springs from 17-19 September 2014 to participate in Australia's leading multidisciplinary viral hepatitis conference, attracting around 450 delegates.


2014 HIV & AIDS and SH Conference webcasts now online

Video proceedings of the 2013 Australasian HIV & AIDS and Sexual Health Conferences held in Darwin last year are now available online at Access is via subscription only. For information on individual or institutional subscriptions please contact


2014 Clinical Lecture Series

ASHM is putting forward a proposal to industry partners to continue last year's successful Clinical Lecture Series. S100 prescribers are invited to select topics of greatest interest through our Series survey.


Going to CROI?

CROI 2014 will be held from 3-6 March 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. Are you attending CROI? If so, please get in touch with Muirgen Stack, ASHM Clinical Programs Advisor.

Sector News

Changes to Tasmania's Public Health Act

DHHS Tasmania is seeking input on proposed changes to the Public Health Act 1997 relating to public health emergencies, the management of diseases and contaminants, smoke-free areas, the supply of drinking water, and the Needle and Syringe Program. The proposal includes the repeal of the HIV/AIDS Preventive Measures Act 1993. View the proposal documents or phone 1800 671 738. Deadline Fri 14 Feb.

Needle and syringe program rolled out in Victoria

A Victorian trial of secure dispensing units is now underway. The trial will see needle vending machines placed in targeted locations across inner-city Melbourne suburbs. Providing access to needles and syringes is an important part of reducing drug related harm particularly the transmission of blood-borne viruses such as HCV and HIV. However, there has been some negative media reporting. Take the Herald Sun poll about needle vending machines in suburbs to have your views heard, and read Living Positive Victoria's media release in support of the program.

HPV vaccine rolled out in developing countries

An estimated 206,000 girls in ten developing countries are expected to benefit from the introduction of the HPV vaccine, announced the GAVI Alliance on World Cancer Day

People with HCV report discrimination by health professionals

Research by the CSRH shows that more than a quarter of people with hepatitis C in NSW report discrimination by health professionals, with almost 13% of these patients reporting refusal of medical treatment due to their infection. Hepatitis NSW's new awareness campaign tackles the problem with C the person not the disease. All doctors and allied healthcare professionals across the state will be asked to sign a pledge indicating that they do not support discrimination against those living with HCV.

HCV guidelines

US medical societies launched new HCV treatment guidelines, which are available online. Additionally, the EASL issued new hepatitis HCV guidelines in December 2013, which were compiled prior to the licensing of sofosbuvir in the European Union

Don Baxter receives Australia Day honour

ASHM would like to congratulate Don Baxter, for being awarded a Member of the Order of Australia. Baxter received the honour on Australia Day for his significant service to the community as an advocate for people affected by and living with HIV and AIDS. Read the news in Sydney Star Observer and AFAO's media release.

Priorities in Prevention Study

CSHR invites you to take part in an important new study called Priorities in Prevention (PiP). PiP is a brief survey of the opinions and attitudes of people who work in the HIV field about different prevention strategies for gay men.

IAS letter to the president of India

IAS Governing Council Members have sent a letter to India's president urging him to guide the reform of discriminatory laws in India undermining the response to HIV, and to guarantee the dignity and human rights of all citizens of India, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Focus on undiagnosed HIV rate in Australia

COUNT, the CSRH and Burnet Institute's new study, aims to identify rates of undiagnosed HIV in Australia's gay community. As part of the study the research team will offer free HIV testing across Australia. The COUNT team will assist with referrals to support services, if required, after the results are delivered.

APNA online learning

APNA members now have access to more than 30 CPD hours of online learning at no charge. With a range of clinical and non-clinical topics, your 20 CPD hour requirements can be met with the purchase of an APNA membership.

Financing essential HIV services: A new economic agenda

A recent paper published in PLOS Medicine discusses HIV funding and argues that there is need for a renewed economic case to now be made for a reinvigorated response and a sustainable, long-term national and global financial commitment to ending AIDS.

Articles of interest: HIV


PrEP: Uptake slow but gathering pace
The Lancet
This Lancet article looks at the uptake of PrEP internationally (including Australia) noting that uptake has been slow in the US, but trials of the therapy are gathering pace worldwide. Meanwhile the debate in the media ensues:

ARVs lower advanced liver disease in men with HIV & HCV co-infection
Men co-infected with HIV and HCV are at significantly reduced risk of developing decompensated liver disease after beginning antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV.
Average CD4 cell count at time HIV therapy was started increased among young people in New York City
Clinical Infectious Diseases
A US study investigating when young people started HIV treatment and whether there were high levels of transmitted drug resistance found that in the later period (2010-2011), young people were starting HIV treatment at considerably higher CD4 cell counts than they had been before guidelines changed in 2009. There also seemed to be a significant increase in the amount of transmitted drug resistance, which reduced the options for people starting HIV treatment.


US study shows which HIV tests are most accurate 
Reported in aidsmap and published in PLOS ONE
Differences in the performance of commonly used HIV tests lead to substantial differences in the number of infections which are diagnosed in everyday clinical practice, according to an analysis from San Francisco. If the test used only detects HIV antibodies, most acute (recent) HIV infections are missed. This information comes on the back of a modelling study published in Sexually Transmitted Diseases, which cautions that  the prevalence and incidence of HIV could rise If gay men replace clinic-based HIV testing with less sensitive home tests.


HIV-1 transmission during early infection in MSM: A phylodynamic analysis
PLOS Medicine
A US study into transmission patterns of HIV among MSM suggests that “treatment as prevention” as a strategy will not be successful in effectively controlling the spread of HIV, unless there are very high rates of HIV testing and treatment. Read a subsequent discussion paper responding to the research's findings.
Synthetic gene helps HIV vaccine hit shape-shifting foe
Molecular Therapy
An HIV vaccine that uses a synthetic gene to trigger an immune response might offer a new avenue of exploration for an HIV cure, say University of Oxford research team.

HIV cure research gets million dollar boost from amfAR
The Foundation for AIDS Research (or amfAR) has given grants to five teams of scientists working at “leading research institutions in the U.S. and around the globe to collaborate on studies aimed at curing HIV.”

Health & HIV

Long-term immune response to vaccines is impaired in people with HIV
Clinical Infectious Diseases
The long-term immune response to most vaccines is impaired in people with HIV, according to the results of a meta-analysis.

Heart risks common in teens with HIV
Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

A substantial proportion of perinatally HIV-infected youth have an increased cardiovascular risk factor burden, a US study found.

HIV internationally

America says anti-gay law may affect fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria
Premium Times
The United States Government on Monday said Nigeria’s anti-gay law may affect the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS

Articles of interest: HCV

Enhancing Hep C treatment in the custodial setting: a national roadmap
MJA Insight
To control the growing burden of HCV disease, new infrastructure and models of care to enable assessment and treatment outside tertiary referral liver clinics need to be developed. Prisoners have been identified as a priority population.
At $84,000 Gilead hepatitis C drug sets off payer revolt
Payers face billions of dollars in new drug costs as pharmaceutical companies develop increasingly complex products in the years ahead. Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX), Catamaran Corp. (CCT), Aetna Inc. and CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS) among others are already pushing back against the high cost of Gilead's drug.
Only just the beginning of the end of hepatitis C
The Lancet

The need for a global plan for hepatitis C is imperative. It should include research and operational priorities, and establish global funding.

Faldaprevir an anticipated addition to HCV armamentarium
Infectious Disease Special Edition

Treatment with faldaprevir, a once-daily hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A protease inhibitor, in combination with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) led to a sustained virologic response (SVR) at week 12 in 80% of patients with HCV genotype 1, findings from a large, randomized placebo-controlled trial of the drug revealed.
HCV maintains infectivity for weeks after drying on inanimate surfaces at room temperature: Implications for risks of transmission
Journal of Infectious Diseases

A recent study by researchers from the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health revealed that HCV can remain infectious for up to 6 weeks on surfaces at room temperature.
Patients of dentist informed of possible exposure to HIV, hepatitis

Almost 1000 patients treated by a Sydney dentist over the past decade may have been exposed to HIV and other infectious diseases because medical equipment was not properly sterilised. Patient advocates say the case raises "deeply concerning" questions about patient safety in dental clinics and the quality of medical regulation.

Articles of interest: HBV

China says child deaths not linked to hepatitis vaccine

Chinese health authorities said they have found no link between a hepatitis B vaccine and the deaths of nine children who had received those shots..
Early entecavir therapy increased short-term mortality in high HBV viral load 
In patients with chronic hepatitis B who have a high viral load, early entecavir treatment is related to higher short-term mortality than early treatment with lamivudine, according to recent study findings from Taiwan.

Articles of interest: Other STIs

Chlamydia tests best during luteal phase 
Australian Doctor

Chlamydia tests are best performed during the second half of the menstrual cycle, a large Australian study suggests. 

Gonorrhoea rates rocket in men
Sydney Star Observer and Medical Observer

A fourfold increase in throat infection caused by gonorrhoea has been found in men in South-Eastern Sydney, according to a recent population-based study, leading to calls for more STI checks.

Syphilis spike in 2012 'troubling,' CDC says
The number of cases of primary and secondary syphilis in the United States increased 11.1% in 2012 with men -particularly gay and bisexual men - accounting for the spike entirely.

Conferences and Events

13th Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Related Diseases

The 13th Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Related Diseases will be held 20‒21 February 2014 at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney.

2014 Towards an HIV Cure Symposium

The symposium will be held on 19-20 July 2014, Melbourne, Australia.

2014 AFAO National Gay Men's HIV Health Promotion Conference

The conference Integrating Action, Promoting Partnership will be held in Manly, Sydney 8-9 April 2014. The deadline for abstract submissions is 5:00pm Friday 28 February 2014.

HIV drug therapy, Glasgow

This meeting will be held on 2-6 November 2014, Glasgow, UK. Read the first announcement and visit the website.

31st Annual NRL Workshop on Infectious Diseases

The 31st Annual NRL Workshop on Infectious Diseases will be held at Crown Promenade, Melbourne 29 July-August 2014.

A community forum on the cost of HIV treatment in Victoria

How much is your health worth?- a community forum on the cost of HIV treatment in Victoria will be held on Tuesday, 11 February 2014, 6pm. Read more about the forum and RSVP online.


Living Positive Victoria - Health Promotion Officer

Living Positive Victoria is looking for an innovative, organised and experienced Health Promotion Officer keen to work in the community sector to support people living with HIV in Victoria.

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