STIs in remote Australia

ABC Health Report, Monday 18 March 2019 5:45 PM

Leading Aboriginal researcher Associate Professor James Ward* is calling for action in remote Australia to deal with a preventable epidemic of sexually transmissible infections — including syphilis — in a population that’s no more sexually active than non-Indigenous people of the same age.  

He joined Dr Norman Swan’s Health Report on ABC RN.

Later this month James will present to the National Rural Health Conference about addressing sexually transmitted infections in remote Australia.

*James Ward is Associate Professor, Flinders University; & Head of Infectious Diseases Research, Aboriginal Health, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. 

 

 

80% of new HIV cases transmitted by undiagnosed or untreated people

Healio, March 18, 2019

In 2016, more than 80% of new HIV infections in the United States were transmitted by individuals who either did not know they were infected with HIV or had been diagnosed but were not receiving care, according to data released on the first day of the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta.

HIV diagnoses hit seven year low: Australia’s annual HIV figures released

Kirby Institute, UNSW, Monday, 24 September 2018

Australia has recorded its lowest level of HIV diagnoses in seven years, according to a new report from the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney.

The report, released at the Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference in Sydney, found that there were 963 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, the lowest number since 2010.

Researchers are attributing the promising results to more people getting tested for HIV, more people living with HIV starting treatment which reduces the risk of HIV transmission to effectively zero, and an increased use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP, an HIV prevention pill).

However, it is not all good news. According to the report, a quarter of new HIV diagnoses in 2017 were among heterosexuals, with a 10% increase in diagnoses over the past five years.

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, HIV diagnoses have been increasing over the past five years, with rates almost two times higher than the Australian-born non-Indigenous population in 2017.

Scotland’s reduction in new HCV infections is due to harm reduction, not treatment

infohep, Published:12 June 2018

The reduction in new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections that has taken place in Scotland since 2008 is most likely due to increased provision of needle and syringe programmes and opioid substitution therapy, rather than a reduction in the number of people with hepatitis C as a result of increased treatment of HCV infection, a modelling study published in the journal Addiction reports.

Researchers from the University of Bristol and three Scottish universities developed a model of the Scottish HCV epidemic to test the impact of varying levels of harm reduction provision.

Priorities for preventing a concentrated HIV epidemic among Aboriginal Australians

Priorities for preventing a concentrated HIV epidemic among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

James S Ward, Karen Hawke and Rebecca J Guy
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (1): 56. || doi: 10.5694/mja17.01071
Published online: 2 July 2018
Greater efforts are required to prevent human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) escalating among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Recently released national data highlight a 33% increase in new HIV diagnosis rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, from 4.8 per 100 000 population in 2012 to 6.4 per 100 000 population in 2016. In the same period, newly diagnosed HIV rates among Australian-born non-Indigenous people decreased by 22% (from 3.7 per 100 000 population in 2012 to 2.9 per 100 000 population in 2016).

The time for action on Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus has arrived: An open letter to WHO

Australasian Society for HIV Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), 10 May 2018

ASHM has joined the call by leading Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus 1 (HTLV-1) researchers, clinicians and patients to take action on HTLV-1 by signing an open letter to the WHO, published in an abbreviated form in The Lancet. The letter calls on the WHO to support the promotion of proven, effective transmission prevention strategies for HTLV-1, in much the same way it already does for HIV, HBV and HCV.

ASHM established an 2016, to bring together researches, clinicians and community representatives at an annual round table to raise awareness of HTLV-1 and share the latest information. Up to 40% of the  HTLV-1 working group ipopulation of some Central Australian communities are positive for HTLV-1, which can cause cancer, neurological problems and immune disorders, including chronic lung inflammation leading to bronchiectasis.

“Specifically for Australia, we have all of the key components required for an effective response to this virus – indigenous clinical leadership; the medical research skills and capacity; and two forthcoming developments in treatment and vaccine development,” said Professor Damian Purcell, Head of Molecular Virology Laboratory, The University of Melbourne at the Doherty Institute and member of the ASHM HTLV-1 working group.

“But we need the support of the WHO and Australian Government to accelerate research and implement these strategies.”

ASHM have been advocating for the inclusion of HTLV-1 in the yet-to-be released Fifth National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood-Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy as a Priority Action.

Read the full letter available on the Global Virus Network website