April 2014
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Supporting the HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Workforce
12-13 April 2014
15-16 may 2014
29 may 2014
14 June 2014





ASHM takes a stand on Uganda anti-homosxuality bill

You may have heard that on 20 December 2013 the Ugandan Parliament passed an Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which entrenches hatred and discrimination against those who are, or who are believed to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI). ASHM has drafted an open letter to the President of the Republic of Uganda outlining our concerns with this Bill. If you would like to show your support, you can add your name to hundreds of thousands of others petitioning against the Bill. In addition, organisations and groups are invited to use ASHM’s open letter in formatting their own document protesting against the Bill.


Removal of PBAC CD4+ <500 for ART

On 1 April 2014, the PBAC/PBS change to HIV prescribing which allows for the commencement of treatment regardless of CD4+ cell count came into effect. Material about what the change means for prescribers can be found on the ASHM website. ASHM is in the process of circulating patient information brochures developed by NAPWHA, which you should receive at your clinic early next week. Read ASHM's press release.


ASHM President Elect Dr Mark Boyd receives Frank Fenner Award

Dr Mark Boyd, ASHM's President Elect and physician at the Kirby Institute has been awarded the prestigious Frank Fenner Award at the recent ASID Meeting. ASHM congratulates Mark on this well deserved achievement. Read more about the award.

ASHM Board Member and Director of Kirby Institute, Prof David Cooper, was one of 12 medical pioneers featured in a series of podcasts to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Medical Journal of Australia.

ASHM Organisational News

ASHM's Conferences and Events Division awarded prestigious prize

We are pleased to announce that our Conference and Division won the prestigious in-house conference organiser award at the NSW Meeting and Events industry awards. For information about how ASHM can help you with your conference or event please contact ASHM's Conference, Sponsorship and Events Division 02 8204 0770.

Hepatitis B Nursing and Culture Webinar

This webinar will be held on  Thursday 3 April, 1-2pm, and will cover issues such as nursing culture and how it impacts on clients; relationships between culture and health outcomes; and the major health belief systems. Participants will be able to identify the elements necessary to provide culturally appropriate nursing care for people with, or affected by, hepatitis B. Register now.

ASHM online

The 2014 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) was recently held in Boston, Massachusetts. ASHM members who attended CROI 2014 have reported back on various sessions, so that you can brush up on the new research presented there, even if you didn't attend. Additionaly, ASHM is collating important information for the region in the lead up to AIDS 2014. Visit to make sure you're up-to-date.

Welcome to ASHM's new team member

ASHM is pleased to welcome Natasha Woods as our new Hepatitis B Project Officer. Natasha comes to ASHM from the Department of Health in Canberra. In her previous role, Natasha provided support for national surveillance of blood-borne viruses (BBV) and sexually transmissible infections (STI), and is now seeking to broaden her experience within the sector, bringing her specific knowledge of BBV and STI epidemiology with her. Natasha is replacing Anne Fredrickson who made a significant contribution to progressing the hepatitis B program at ASHM.

News from our Organisational Sustaining Members

Hepatitis Queensland updates

Living Positive Victoria news

  • Living Positive Victoria and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) students are collaborating on a theatre project inspired by the lived experience of HIV. The works will be performed at the VCA between 16-23 May.
  • Read Living Positive Victoria's media release with highlights from CROI 2014.

AFAO news

The latest edition of HIV Australia focuses on HIV and relationships. Read AFAO's March newsletter.

Carol Martin Scholarship

Applications for the ASHHNA Carol Martin Professional Development Scholarship for Sexual & Reproductive Health and HIV Nurses close on 30 April 2014. ASHHNA members are encouraged to apply to undertake professional development, research, or present and attend relevant conferences. For enquires and applications, contact Karen Biggs 02 9843 3186. Sponsor CSL Biotherapies.

Other Sector News

Interferon-free HCV therapy provides equivalent outcomes in HIV/HCV co-infected and HCV mono-infected individuals

Data presented at CROI 2014 showed that people with HIV/HCV co-infection treated with the first interferon-free regimen in development (sofosbuvir + riobavirin) had cure rates of between 67% and 94%. This and other latest developments in HIV/viral hepatitis co-infection will be presented at the International HIV/Viral Hepatitis Co-Infection Satellite Meeting, a pre-conference meeting and independent affiliated event to AIDS 2014. The Satellite Meeting is being run by ASHM and is supported by the Kirby Institute, the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) and the Agence Nationale de Recherches sur le Sida et les Hépatites Virales (ANRS) and will be held 18-19 July 2014.

The Australian Nursing/Midwifery Workforce Survey

Research fellows of the Australian College of Nursing are conducting a short e-survey to investigate the activities and level of nursing and midwifery practice in different positions, titles and grades. Nurses and midwives working in clinical service environments are encouraged to complete the online survey.

New editions of Research Review out now

These reviews feature key medical articles from global journals with commentary from local specialists and cover a range of topics:

HIV patients set to benefit from new hep C drugs

Hepatitis C could soon be eradicated in the Australian HIV community, says Prof Greg Dore of the Kirby Institute at UNSW. As reported in Gastroenterology Update, Prof Dore said the new direct-acting antiviral drugs for HCV due to come on stream in the next couple of years were far more effective and better tolerated than conventional interferon treatment.

Articles of interest: HIV

Treatment and transmission

Effects of early versus delayed initiation of antiretroviral treatment on clinical outcomes of HIV-1 infection
The Lancet - Infectious Diseases

This study looks at results from the phase 3 HPTN 052 randomised controlled trial that provide strong support for earlier initiation of antiretroviral treatment.

Risks for HIV-mixed partners
Results from the Partner Study, reported in SMH
Preliminary results from the Partner study show that for couples where one partner carries HIV, the risk that the HIV-negative partner will contract HIV may be lower than expected. Read the Partner Study report and the SMH interview with Sharon Lewin.

Rare case of woman-to-woman HIV transmission

For the first time ever, doctors believe there is new proof that HIV can be sexually transmitted between two women, with the CDC reporting in March a rare case of female-to-female transmission.

Adelaide researchers claim breakthrough in tackling HIV and HCV
ABC Radio - PM
South Australian researchers claim they have made a significant breakthrough in tackling HIV and hepatitis C, using a new type of DNA vaccine which protects against the viruses and could possibly provide a cure in five years. 

Two studies advance HIV prevention options for women
Medical Xpress

Two early clinical studies of novel HIV prevention products for women show the products to be safe and open the door to product improvements that could expand options for women-initiated prevention tools. The results of both studies were presented at CROI.

Women with circumcised partners less likely to have HIV
A study from Orange Farm near Johannesburg in South Africa, the area that hosted the first-ever randomised controlled trial of male circumcision for HIV prevention, which concluded in 2005, has found evidence that women who are partners of circumcised men are less likely to have HIV themselves.

Regional and international

Top 10 donors for HIV and AIDS projects

The UNAIDS tops fundsforNGOs' list of the top 10 donors for HIV projects wordwide.

MedMira to Submit Cutting-Edge Rapid HIV Test for WHO Prequalification
Wall Street Journal

MedMira will submit a new application for its most advanced Reveal Rapid HIV Antibody Test (Reveal HIV) to the WHO Prequalification of Diagnostics Programme.


Coverage from CROI 2014
Clinical Care Options

This coverage from Clinical Care Options includes downloadable slides on a number of topics presented at CROI 2014.

30th anniversary of HIV discovery
RN Breakfast

Listen to Prof Andrew Carr's interview on Radio National to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the discovery of HIV.

Behind the Scenes in Melbourne
Huffington Post

Co-Convenor of AIDS 2014 Prof Sharon Lewin gives us an insight into what Melbourne has planned for AIDS 2014.

Articles of interest: HCV

New cure for HCV excites doctors
Nine MSN

More than 200,000 people in Australia and New Zealand will soon be cured of HCV, thanks to new drugs that have a 90 per cent success rate and very few side effects.
Alarming increase in HCV deaths among baby boomers
Australians who contracted HCV decades ago are only now starting to develop terminal liver disease at an alarming rate. A trend that public health experts warn could have catastrophic consequences for the health system.
Hepatitis C treatments: Australia urged to subsidise 'revolutionary' new drugs
ABC Online

Public health experts say effective new drugs to treat hepatitis C should be subsidised in Australia to avert a looming strain on the national health.

How much should HCV treatment cost?

A new pill to treat hepatitis C raises difficult questions about fair pricing, not only in the United States and other affluent nations but in developing countries around the world.
Should prisoners get expensive hepatitis C drugs?

If used widely, a new generation of antiviral drugs has the potential to wipe out the deadly hepatitis C virus in the United States. But the high price of the drugs might prevent their use in prisons, which house as many as one-third of those who are infected.
Hepatitis C treatment viable in primary care

Hepatitis C infection is typically treated by gastroenterologists and hepatologists, but primary care physicians can feel confident that they too can treat this illness - especially if they have the right interdisciplinary team to help, say clinicians wanting to expand care.
Show regional leadership, hepatitis expert urges
Gastroenterology Update

Australia must improve its poor hep C treatment rates and do much more in the region to manage the disease, says Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance.

Articles of interest: Co-infection

HIV, hepatitis B virus co-infection increased hepatitis D incidence
The Body
The prevalence of recent hepatitis D virus infection among patients with HIV/hepatitis B virus coinfection has increased significantly since 1992, according to recent study findings. Read the study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Patients with HCV, HIV co-infection 80 percent more likely to develop cirrhosis.
Vaccine News Daily
Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania recently conducted a study and found that patients with HIV/hepatitis C co-infections were 80 percent more likely to develop cirrhosis than hepatitis C-only patients.

Articles of interest: HBV

Vertical transmission of hep B on the way out
Gastroenterology Update
Tenofovir in pregnant women with hepatitis B is extremely effective in preventing in utero infection and in combination with vaccination could eradicate the disease altogether says New Zealand and ASHM Board Member Prof Ed Gane.

Migrants missed by immunisation program
6 minutes
Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases - (including hepatitis B) - will continue to occur in Australia unless the immunisation system is re-configured to focus on overlooked groups such as migrants and refugees, experts say. Read the report by the NHMRC's Centre for Research Excellence in Immunisation in Under-studied and Special Risk Populations.
HCC risk remains high with hep B antivirals
Gastroenterology Update
Chronic hepatitis B patients who achieve complete response with oral antiviral therapy are still at much higher risk of developing hepatocellular cancer compared to patients with inactive CHB, Korean researchers find. Read the study in the BMJ.

Responding to the rise of viral hepatitis in Asia Pacific
Thomson Reuters Foundation - blog
Six of the ten countries with the highest levels of mortality are in the Asia Pacific region, including the four countries with the highest viral hepatitis death rates (China, India, Japan and Indonesia). Only half of the countries surveyed in Asia Pacific reported having a national strategy for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis.

Articles of interest: Other STIs

New STI figures highlight Indigenous health disparity
ABC News
Fresh Health Department statistics show a disparity in the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) between Indigenous Western Australians and non-Indigenous residents.
"The continued high rates of gonorrhoea and chlamydia in the Kimberley is a continued concern up here," she said. 
Baby boomers in the online dating scene at risk of STIs
6 minutes

Mature aged men and women using online dating sites are less likely to negotiate condom use with a new partner, putting them at risk of contracting STIs, say sexual health physicians. First publishing what is now dubbed the 'RSVP Study' in Australian Journal of Sexual Health (2011), phase two of the study is on the verge of being released.
1.5. Million girls set to benefit from vaccine against cervical cancer
Press Release

The GAVI Alliance has announced that it will support vaccination programmes in Rwanda, Uganda and Uzbekistan aiming to protect 1.5 million girls against the cause of cervical cancer. Meanwhile, in Australia, there's a call to start cervical screening later as the pioneering HPV vaccination program is significantly reducing women's rates of precancerous lesions, and thus their cervical cancer risk.
Be alert: HIV positive men need regular screening. Increase in syphilis in men who have sex with men
Press release
The Victorian Chief Health Officer advises that syphilis notifications have increased in the last few years, predominantly in men who have sex with men (MSM). Syphilis infection is of particular public health importance because it increases both susceptibility to acquiring HIV infection and transmissibility of HIV infection. All MSM should be screened for syphilis at least annually.

Sector jobs

Family Planning Queensland - Medical Director

Family Planning Queensland is looking for a community focused Medical Director with experience in the field of reproductive and sexual health.

Sexual Health Service Tasmania - Sexual Health Physician

The Tasmanian Sexual Health Service has a unique opportunity for a sexual health physician to relocate to Tasmania for a dynamic position caring for the sexual health of Tasmanians. Contact Louise Owen for further information or phone 03 6233 3557.

Conferences and Events

Sexual Health Conference, 9 – 11 October 2014, Sydney

The conference website is now available and will be updated with further information as soon as possible. Save the dates in your diary and start planning your abstract submission – deadline 6 June 2014.

International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV&AIDS, 17 – 19 July 2014, Sydney

Keynote speakers for this conference have now been confirmed. Abstract submitters and scholarship applicants will be advised on the status of their submission late April.

Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference, 17-19 September 2014, Alice Springs

Keynote speakers for this conference have just been announced and include Dr John Ward – Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA; Professor Maggie Bassendine, Professor of Hepatology, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, UK; Dr Dieter Glebe, Head, National Reference Centre for Hepatitis B and D viruses, Institute of Medical Virology, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany; and Giten Khwairakpam - Community and Policy Project Manager, amfAR’s TREAT Asia program, Thailand. Registration and abstract submission will be open shortly.

International HIV/Viral Hepatitis Co-Infection Satellite Meeting, 18-19 July, Melbourne

Register now to this pre-conference meeting and independent affiliated event to the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), which will be held at the Intercontinental the Rilto, Melbourne.

APNA National Conference, 29-31 May 2014, Sydney

The program for APNA's Striving Through Change conference includes workshops on sexual health and on stigma and discrimination against injecting drug users, as well as an Implanon NXT Practical Training workshop on 29 May 2014. Register now. ASHM is running the course Fundamentals of HIV & Sexual Health: Expanding the Scope of Primary Health Care Nurses adjacent to the APNA Conference.

Hepatology Nursing Masterclass 27 May 2014, Sydney

This free workshop will provide education on chronic viral hepatitis management, advanced liver disease and liver transplant related topics. Nurses and other health care workers who care for patients with liver disease are encouraged to attend.

The HIV Nursing Practice Workshop - Sydney, 5-8 May

The HIV Nursing Practice Workshop provides a comprehensive introduction to HIV nursing for people new to the field or who are starting to care for HIV positive clients.

31st Annual NRL Workshop on Infectious Diseases, 29 July- 1 August 2014, Melbourne

The 31st Annual NRL Workshop on Infectious Diseases will be held at Crown Promenade, Melbourne.

13th Asia Oceania Federation of Sexology Conference, 22-25 October, Brisbane

The Society of Australian Sexologists invite you to attend the 13th Asia Oceania Federation of Sexology Conference, held for the first time in Australia.

Viruses in May, 1-3 May, Katoomba

Viruses in May 2014 to be held at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba has an excellent lineup of internationally renowned speakers.

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Australasian Society for HIV Medicine
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