Increased screening for syphilis and HIV in SA – new advice for clinicians (video)

SHINE SA,  

SHINE SA have released a short video resource for health professionals providing advice on the current syphilis outbreak in South Australia.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It presents a serious public health issue as it causes harm to the developing foetus and increases the transmission and acquisition of HIV.

The 5 minute video SA Syphilis Outbreak – Advice for Clinicians urges health professionals to be aware that syphilis is increasing rapidly in SA and that there is a need to respond with increased screening.

Secondary students’ sexual health survey results

La Trobe University, 11th June 2019

The sixth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, conducted in 2018 and released today, found 47 per cent of Year 10-12 students taking the survey had engaged in sexual intercourse.  Of sexually active respondents, 76 per cent had sex at home; 65 per cent with a boyfriend or girlfriend; 62 percent often or always used a condom; and 86 per cent with somebody about the same age.

Lead researcher at La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society Dr Christopher Fisher said the survey asked 6327 Year 10-12 students in Government, Catholic and Independent schools from each state and territory, about their sexual behaviour and knowledge of sexually transmitted infections.

“Overall, young Australians have good knowledge of sexual health, are behaving responsibly and are actively seeking out trusted, reliable sources of information,” Dr Fisher said.

Reproductive coercion research – seeking GPs

The University of Melbourne, May 2019

Reproductive coercion (RC) is an under recognised form of abuse experienced by Australian women. RC refers to a group of behaviours that intend to control a woman with regards to reproduction. Contraceptive sabotage, pregnancy coercion and controlling the outcome of a pregnancy are all forms of RC and often occur alongside other forms of abuse in a relationship.

Researchers at the The University of Melbourne are undertaking a project exploring GP’s experiences responding to RC. They aim to understand how GPs identify and respond to this type of abuse. They ask that any antenatal care GPs, or GPs who prescribe medical termination of pregnancy medication to participate in a confidential interview with a member of their team. The interview can be conducted either by telephone or face to face, at a time convenient to your busy schedule. Interviews take approximately 20 minutes and all interview data will be de-identified.

Ethics ID: 1853440.

To register your interest in the project or to gain more information about the project please contact: Molly Wellington

It’s time to lift the restrictions on medical abortion in Australia – Professor Caroline de Costa

The Conversation, April 1, 2019 6.13am AEDT

Over the past thirteen years, many Australian women have used the drug mifepristone (RU486) to bring about a medical abortion.

Rather than undergoing a surgical abortion in a clinic or hospital operating theatre, a medical abortion is induced by taking drugs prescribed by a doctor.

But while mifepristone has been available in Australia since 2006, only some women, in some parts of the country, are able to access it. Professor Caroline de Costa argues in the Medical Journal of Australia that this needs to change.

Healthcare providers should discuss U=U with all their HIV-positive patients

aidsmap/nam, 18/03/2019

Healthcare providers should inform all patients with HIV they cannot transmit HIV to a sexual partner when their viral load is undetectable, argue the authors of  a strongly worded comment in The Lancet HIV.

The authors note that despite overwhelming scientific data supporting the undetectable = untransmittable (U=U) message, significant numbers of healthcare providers do not educate their patients about U=U when telling them their viral load is undetectable.

 

 

 

Smoking and HIV: what are the risks and what harm reduction strategies do we have at our disposal?

AIDS Res Ther. 2018 Dec 12;15(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s12981-018-0213-z.

Abstract

The World Health Organization estimates that smoking poses one of the greatest global health risks in the general population. Rates of current smoking among people living with HIV (PLHIV) are 2-3 times that of the general population, which contributes to the higher incidence of non-AIDS-related morbidity and mortality in PLHIV.

Given the benefit of smoking cessation, strategies to assist individuals who smoke to quit should be a primary focus in modern HIV care.

Tobacco harm reduction focuses on reducing health risk without necessarily requiring abstinence. However, there remains uncertainty about the safety, policy and familiarity of specific approaches, particularly the use of vaporised nicotine products. Evidence suggests that vaporised nicotine products may help smokers stop smoking and are not associated with any serious side-effects. However, there is the need for further safety and efficacy data surrounding interventions to assist quitting in the general population, as well as in PLHIV specifically.

In addition, official support for vaping as a harm reduction strategy varies by jurisdiction and this determines whether medical practitioners can prescribe vaporised products and whether patients can access vaporised nicotine products. When caring for PLHIV who smoke, healthcare workers should follow general guidelines to assist with smoking cessation.

These include: asking the patient about their smoking status; assessing the patient’s readiness to quit and their nicotine dependence; advising the patient to stop smoking; assisting the patient in their attempt to stop smoking through referral, counselling, pharmacotherapy, self-help resources and/or health education; and arranging follow-up with the patient to evaluate their progress.