HIV Women’s Health Program Update

Relationships Australia South Australia, February 2018

Information for Service Providers 

The HIV Women’s Health Program of Relationships Australia South Australia has been established to provide a range of services to empower women affected by or at risk of HIV to lead a healthy life that is free of stigma and discrimination.

Their service is for all women affected by HIV regardless of their cultural backgrounds. Women can be referred to the service or contact them directly.

All women accessing this service will be initially seen by the female Program Coordinator who has extensive experience in working with gender based issues, HIV and culture. The Coordinator will first meet women face to face, conduct a general assessment and will discuss the most suitable interventions and future directions.

Their services include:
• Individual support, counselling, case management, advocacy and referral services.
• Bi-monthly women’s peer support group (all participants must register with the program coordinator).
• A specific website http://indabahiv.com.au/ that provides information relevant to women’s living with HIV. The information is useful for people living with HIV, the wider community and service providers.
• Peer development pathways to empower women who are interested in being involved in providing peer support and/or in public speaking about HIV.

They will regularly consult with women to identify concerns and gaps in service delivery.

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Changing attitudes to and engagement with biomedical HIV prevention by gay and bisexual men

Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, 2017

The latest findings from the PrEPARE Project have now been published. The  PrEPARE Project is a longitudinal study of Australian gay and bisexual men’s attitudes to biomedical HIV prevention, particularly PrEP and treatment as prevention (TasP).

With the unprecedented scaling up of PrEP access in many states over the last few years, we have observed a surge in PrEP use, and increasing levels of support for PrEP in the community. Belief in the effectiveness of TasP has also increased, although many men remain skeptical about it. The report includes national summary data. it is hoped that the report will be useful in assessing community readiness for biomedical prevention and potential issues in implementation.

Key findings:

» Nearly a quarter of gay and bisexual men (24%) reported they had ever used PrEP. This was a large increase from the 2015 survey (3%).

» Most current PrEP users were accessing it from a research study or demonstration project (82%) and the majority (74%) reported increased sexual confidence and reduced concern about acquiring HIV as a result of PrEP.

» Nearly all participants (95%) had heard of PrEP and two-thirds of participants (66%) knew someone who had taken PrEP; substantial increases from the 2015 survey. Knowledge of PrEP also improved between 2015 and 2017.

» Willingness to use PrEP has increased among HIV-negative and untested men (to 37% in 2017) and concern about using it has fallen (to 36%).

» Support for gay and bisexual men using PrEP increased to 75% in 2017, as did willingness to have sex with someone using PrEP (47%).

» Belief that HIV treatment prevents transmission increased to 20% in 2017; the increase was primarily among HIV-negative and untested men.

» Agreement that early HIV treatment is necessary increased to 79% in 2017; this increase was concentrated among HIV-positive men

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Making sexual consent matter: one-off courses are unlikely to help

The Conversation, February 15, 2018 6.05am AEDT

In the wake of the findings of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) 2017 national report on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities, a number of universities have introduced mandatory courses on sexual consent for new students.

Of all students who participated in the AHRC inquiry, 26% experienced some form of sexual harassment in a university setting in 2016. Just over half had experienced sexual harassment at least once in the year prior to the survey.

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Gonorrhoea ‘super-superbugs’ triple in six months [in Australia]

SMH, 13/02/2018

Cases of a strain of gonorrhoea impervious to an antibiotic have almost tripled in six months, the latest report from the National Alert System for Critical Antimicrobial Resistance (CARAlert) reveals.

The result was a “warning shot across the bow” for doctors and public health officials fighting antibiotic resistance, CARAlert’s senior medical adviser said.

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Reproductive health of HIV-positive women being neglected, says Swiss study

nam/aidsmap, 06 February 2018

HIV-positive women in Switzerland are mainly relying on male condoms for contraception, investigators report in HIV Medicine. “Male condoms remained the most frequently used contraceptive method, whereas the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives was very uncommon,” note the researchers. “One in six women using contraceptives experienced an unwanted pregnancy, with 42% occurring while using a combined hormonal pill.

The investigators suggest that HIV clinicians need to do more to encourage effective contraceptive use by women with HIV, especially in the light of growing awareness that people with HIV with undetectable viral load do not transmit HIV. If couples stop using the male condom, women need information about which contraceptive options are suitable for them.

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