December 2013
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Supporting the HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Workforce
7-8 Febraury 2014
22 February 2014
9 March 2014
14 mARCH 2014

ASHMNews: Final Edition 2013




Headlines and Comment



Welcome to ASHM's December edition of ASHMNews - the last edition of the year.  In addition to providing a World AIDS Day wrap up and an update on AIDS2014, we would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and wish you a merry festive season. As a member-based organisation we rely on input from our members and colleagues in the sector. We look forward to collaborating with you again next year and advancing all matters involving HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs.

If you would like to make an end of year donation to ASHM's Gift Funds, you can do so here. Any contributions would be greatly appreciated.
Please note the ASHM office will be closed from Dec 23 to Jan 3.  We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!


World AIDS Day

Nobel Laureate and UNAIDS Global Advocate for Zero Discrimination Daw Aung San Suu Ky  joined the Co-Chair for AIDS 2014 Sharon Lewin, Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé and other dignitaries to attend a World AIDS Day reception at Government House in Melbourne and launch AIDS 2014. ASHM President Edwina Wright was interviewed on ABC News.

Read  ASHM's WAD press release urging GPs to increase their testing of HIV and other STIs

See some of the of the top media stories of the day

Recap on WAD events


AIDS 2014

Did you know that you can register for AIDS 2014 and become an ASHM member at the same time?  ASHM is pleased to announce its AIDS 2014 membership offer, which allows you to become a new ASHM member, or renew your existing ASHM membership, and register for AIDS 2014 all in one go, and at a considerable discount too. But this offer is ONLY available at the point of registration.  Please visit our membership page for further information and register now.  You can also submit abstracts, make program submissions and see the list of plenary speakers on the AIDS 2014 website

AIDS 2014 will also be offering engagement tours for conference delagates.  These tours will provide unique learning experiences through interactive site visits to local organizations, research labs and grassroots community programmes that work on HIV/AIDS issues in Melbourne.


Farewell to Robert Batey

It is with great sadness that we farewell our Viral Hepatitis Clinical Director Professor Robert Batey. Bob has been in this role with ASHM since 2009 and has helped define and direct ASHM's work in the viral hepatitis sector.  We will miss him greatly.  Read an interview with Bob as he recaps on his years with ASHM and shares his thoughts on ASHM's future role in viral hepatitis.

Mandela Dies

AIDS campaigners have mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, saying his stand against taboo and stigma  turned the tide against the killer disease. 'Nelson Mandela was a central figure in the AIDS movement. He was instrumental in laying the foundations of the modern AIDS response,' said Michel Sidibe, head of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS. Read more about Mandela's passing in a press statement from UNAIDS.

ASHM Organisational News

Work with ASHM: Coordinator - HIV Program

ASHM is seeking an experienced individual with extensive understanding of medical education and contemporary standards in professional development to coordinate our HIV program in NSW. Your role will focus on coordinating content and the delivery of HIV courses aimed at GPs and prescribers, the HIV s100 prescribers accreditation program, Shared Care arrangements, HIV testing and the development and maintenance of relationships with key stakeholders in the government, NGO, community and health sectors. Read more about the Coordinator role and apply now.

Updated PEP Guidelines now available online

ASHM has produced new post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) guidelines for exposure to HIV. The updated guidelines combine non-occupational and occupational HIV exposure in a single document for the first time. Information about managing exposure to other conditions, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, STIs, pregnancy and tetanus is also included. A checklist for use in clinical settings has also been developed as part of the update. The checklist is a supplementary resource, offering a practical format to manage PEP for a patient.


November marked the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) - the largest forum on HIV/AIDS held in the region.  In addition to sending some of our own staff, ASHM also used its Pacific Program to sponsor OSSHHM's Dr Jason Mitchell (CEO) to attend, and a packed Pacific satellite session catapulted Pacific perspectives, data and successes onto the international stage.

Read the news stories released  from ICAAP11

Read the press release from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community

Read AFAO's special ICAAP edition of HIV Australia

Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference

The 2014 Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference has now been confirmed for 17-19 September 2014 in Alice Springs.  This is an exciting opportunity to hold the conference in a regional area of Australia and a key focus of the conference will be Indigenous Health. ASHM is the conference organiser.

International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV&AIDS

ASHM is also the conference organiser for the International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV&AIDS to be held from 17-19 July 2014 in Sydney prior to AIDS 2014.  The pre-conference is an IIWGHA event, co-hosted by an Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organising Committee.  Abstract submission opened December 1.

News from our Organisational Sustaining Members

New ACON Director

Geoff Honnor has been succeeded by Karen Price as ACON Director, HIV and Sexual Health.  Karen has a background in leadership roles in HIV, drug and alcohol and mental health at the national and state levels and has previously served as Acting Director of the Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office in the Ministry of Health.  We wish both Geoff and Karen the best of luck in the future.

And the inaugural Hepatitis NSW Cheryl Burman Award goes to...

The Hepatitis NSW Cheryl Burman Award is a new award presented to those who have shown exceptional leadership in the NSW viral hepatitis response. The year’s winner was Mr Gary Gahan, Coordinator - Harm Minimisation and Hepatitis C Programs in the HIV and Related Programs Unit in the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District.

New HIV resource available from NAPWHA

iPlan is a new resource developed by NAPWHA designed to help people living with HIV become active partners in their healthcare. It also aims to help people understand and monitor some of the more important health concerns people with HIV may need or choose to explore.

What’s the go with NSW Going Viral?

NSW Going Viral is a 3-part project aimed at preventing new hep C infections among young people. The project was launched in October in the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District by Hepatitis NSW

'Play Safe' campaign and new resource from ECCQ

African bilingual health workers from the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ) are educating local African soccer teams about sexual health. ECCQ donates ‘Play Safe’ soccer balls to teams and a backpack of sexual health resources team members.  ECCQ has also just release d the resource What You Need to Know covering HIV, hepatitis and STIs in Farsi, Hazaraghi and Hindi.

Other Sector News

The Liver Meeting 2013

The 64th annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) took place in Washington in early November. Read some of the AASLD conference highlights, including editor's picks of top news articles and links to studies and presentations.

New foundation launched in Queensland

The HIV Foundation Queensland was launched on 1 December to coincide with World AIDS Day. It was founded as part of the Queensland state government's commitment to make HIV/AIDS a priority health issue. Read the press release from the Queensland government.

Stigma and misinformation

In October the Gay Men's Health SA team worked with AFAO to draft a letter in response to an article in the Advertiser. The letter was to express profound disappointment at the insensitivity the article showed towards people living with HIV, the inaccuracies it inferred about HIV transmission, as well as the general rationale of mandatory testing for offenders whose “body fluids” come into contact with police officers whilst they are being detained.

ACN and DANA concerned with decision to stop funding to ADCA

The Australian College of Nursing and the Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia have expressed concern that ceasing funding to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia will be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of many Australians.

Articles of interest: HIV

The Lancet and HIV

The Lancet published a number of HIV papers in November and December:
Rights and wrongs
A distinctive feature of the response to HIV and AIDS has been the contribution of those whose lives it has most affected.

WHO's new guidelines for antiretroviral treatment
Absent from the gathering momentum for massive expansion of  antiretroviral drug use is discussion of some important issues.

WHO'S new guidelines: opportunities and challenges
The social and economic implications of the revised guidelines are substantial.

Repeat cross-sectional survey of sexual behaviour and partnerships of HIV-positive MSM attending a HIV clinic in London, UK: implications for HIV prevention among MSM
Recent HIV diagnoses have increased in the UK despite 80% of diagnosed HIV-positive MSM being on ART with an undetectable viral load (UVL).

Achieving an AIDS-free world: science and implementation

Thinking about an AIDS end game


Australian HIV/AIDS Research Review
The Research Review has launched a new website with dedicated clinical pages and all relevant reviews in one spot.

Drug-resistant HIV primarily transmitted by untreated individuals
Clinical Infectious Diseases

Sexual behaviour of heterosexual men and women receiving antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention: a longitudinal analysis (Partners PrEP Study)

Supercharged antibodies fight HIV-related virus in monkeys


NSW health authorities introduce popup rapid testing sites
Health authorities take a new approach to boost screening rates - Australia's first pop-up rapid testing site.

World AIDS Day: Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3
Andrew Shaw finds out how easy it is to get tested for HIV at a sexual health clinic in Brisbane.

A fifth of people with HIV are unaware they are infected, report says

National AIDS Trust: GPs are failing to test gay men for HIV
The National AIDS Trust (NAT) has warned that too many doctors are failing to offer HIV tests for gay and bisexual men.

HIV in the UK: test, test, and test again
The Lancet

France okays home tests for HIV
Medical Daily


New Pacific trade agreement threatens AIDS treatments in Asia
Radio Australia

Fears of an HIV epidemic after rise in amphetamine use in SE Asia

HIV, AIDS in Myanmar key focus for Aung San Suu Kyi
ABC Online

SPC: Our Voyage - Celebrating the Response to HIV in the Pacific
Pacific News Center

PNG same sex groups outline concerns at Bangkok conference
Radio Australia

Articles of interest: Hep C

Promising new era in hepatitis C treatment - but accessible for how many?

New treatments for chronic hepatitis C  have been approved by the US FDA.  In addition to Olysio (simeprevir), the FDA has now approved Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), the first drug that has demonstrated safety and efficacy to treat certain types of HCV infection without the need for co-administration of interferon. The AASLD is collaborating with the Infectious Disease Society of America and will launch a website in January 2014 to keep clinicians who treat patients with hepatitis C apprised of the rapidly moving field. Read more about recent developments in hepatitis C in the Lancet.

There are, however, concerns  Sovaldi may be priced out of reach.  Read the joint statement issued by Act Up-Basel, MSF, APN+, MDM, INPUD, ITPC and an article about the costs in Daily Finance.

Other HCV News

A new study published in PlosOne suggests HCV increases risk of stroke.

Dried spots of blood contaminated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) can remain infectious for up to six weeks at normal room temperatures, research published in the online edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases shows.

Fatty liver disease may overtake HCV as key cause of liver transplant, AASLD president says.

Hepatitis C treatments not being used for more than half of patients either because they couldn't withstand current therapies or because they, or their doctors, were waiting for new treatments. A lost opportunity?

Articles of interest: Hep B

Hepatitis B treatment with entecavir or tenofovir lowers, but does not eliminate, liver cancer risk

Long-term treatment with entecavir can reduce the likelihood that people with chronic hepatitis B will develop hepatocellular carcinoma, according to findings presented this week at The Liver Meeting 2013.

Articles of interest: Other STIs

Calls for urgent review of sexual health services in UK

Lancet editorial has called for the UK Government to initiate an urgent review of sexual health services following the publishing of Natsal-3 research.  "Natsal's findings provide a better understanding for the role of sex in people's lives. The authors argue for a holistic approach to sexual health and the need to move away from disease-focused biomedical framework to a broader concept of wellbeing."

Curbing rates of chlamydia

Efforts to reduce chlamydia infections have resulted in initiatives with varying results.  In the Netherlands, a study on a national screening program  published in BMC Public Health found the project wasn't cost-effective and had low participation. The program was based on inviting youth to self test. However in France, a randomised controlled trial published in the Lancet comparing chlamydia home screening with clinic based screening  found home screening promoted on the internet led to an increase in the rate of  testing in 18—24-year-olds.

Meanwhile in Australia, an expert has called for opportunistic chlamydia testing to become routine in general practice after the Australian Chlamydia Control Effectiveness Pilot (ACCEPt) trial showed that only 55% would offer testing opportunistically to asymptomatic women under 25 having a Pap smear. However, 84% of practice nurses in the study said they would offer opportunistic testing to a woman in the same situation.

Conferences and Events - a complete list of sector events can be found on the ASHM Events page

Hepatology - The New Era Begins

The Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver will be holding a meeting at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from 12-15 March 2014. The meeting is the biggest in Asia and is entitled Hepatology: The New Era Begins.  View the preliminary program and register on the APASL website.

ASID Annual Scientific Meeting 2014

The ASID Annual Scientific Meeting will take place at in Adelaide on 26-29 March 2014. The abstract submission deadline is Friday 24 January 2014.

PWV National Women’s Conference

Positive Women Victoria's (PWV) National Women's Conference, Advancing the Agenda, will be held from 23–24 March 2014 in Melbourne. It is the fourth national conference run for and by women living with HIV in Australia and will bring together women living with HIV from across Australia.  PWV will provide full scholarships to assist women to attend the conference.

RACP Congress 2014

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Future Directions in Health Congress will be held on 18-21 May 2014 in Auckland.  The congress is the largest annual multi-disciplinary internal medicine meeting in Australasia. View the Future Directions in Health program.

HIV Drug Therapy Glasgow

The HIV Drug Therapy Glasgow meeting will cover recent progress in the research and treatment affecting the management of HIV infection and  practical advice and guidance to clinicians in the day-to-day treatment of their patients.


Work for MSF

Have you ever thought of working for the world’s leading independent organisation for medical humanitarian aid?  Médecins Sans Frontières Australia (MSF) is looking for competent people who are willing to live and work within an international team, share their skills and dedicate their time to support medical humanitarian work around the world.  Priority areas include infectious diseases and registrars/physicians.

RNSH Hepatology Services Review

Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified consultants to undertake a review of Hepatology Services at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH).  Read about the RNSH review.

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