Nurse Practitioner (s100) Prescribing Change

Hepatitis Australia, 3 April 2020

Hepatitis Australia warmly welcomes recent changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) allowing authorised Nurse Practitioners to prescribe hepatitis B and hepatitis C medicines under the Highly Specialised Drugs (s100) Program.

Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are under-treated and without improvement in a range of areas Australia risks falling short of agreed national and global viral hepatitis elimination goals. Expanded access to timely treatment and care is a critical component of the national response.

This important development acknowledges the clinical expertise of Nurse Practitioners and the therapeutic relationships they develop and maintain with highly stigmatised and often vulnerable populations.

Under previous arrangements, authorised Nurse Practitioners were able to prescribe treatments for hepatitis B and hepatitis C under the PBS General Schedule (s85). Where Nurse Practitioners were available in primary care services, this arrangement enhanced access to antiviral therapies in community settings.

From 1 April 2020, authorised Nurse Practitioners are also able to prescribe hepatitis B and hepatitis C treatments under the Highly Specialised Drugs (s100) Program. This matters because some people are not able to access primary care settings. The change therefore improves the availability of treatment for vulnerable populations such as people living in remote and regional areas, people experiencing homelessness, and people in custodial settings.

Hepatitis Australia congratulates the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for recommending this important change, and we thank our colleagues at ASHM (Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine) for their leadership in this matter.

Community members in need of more information about hepatitis B and hepatitis C may wish to contact 1800 437 222 (1800 HEP ABC). This National Hepatitis Infoline directs callers to the community-based hepatitis organisation in the relevant state or territory.

ASHM’s “Find a Prescriber” function helps community members find a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner who has attended ASHM’s hepatitis training. People can also speak to their GP about treatment.

https://ashm.org.au/news/pbac-endorse-np-prescribing-for-hepatitis-b-hepatitis-c-and-hiv-medicines/

and

http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/news/2020/04/authorised-nurse-practitioners-now-eligible-to-prescribe

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The above information was found here 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), HIV & hepatitis C: What you need to know

CATIE (Canada), 17 March 2020

  • An HIV-positive person on effective treatment is not expected to be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19
  • A person with untreated HIV or a low CD4+ cell count may be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19
  • People with HIV or hepatitis C are more likely to have other conditions that carry a greater risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19

 

 

Update on COVID-19 for PLHIV

SAMESH, March 19, 2020

SAMESH, SHINE SA, and Thorne Harbour Health are encouraging people living with HIV (PLHIV) to take additional precautions in the face of the changing landscape around 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

We want to ensure the ongoing health and wellbeing of all PLHIV who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. This means minimising the risk of exposure to the virus.

While everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19, the consequences of infection are more severe for some vulnerable groups. This includes PLHIV who are:

  • Aged over 60 years old
  • Living with a detectable viral load or a CD4 count below 500
  • Diabetic
  • Smokers
  • Living with hepatitis B or C
  • Living with a comorbidity such as heart or lung issues

Those PLHIV on treatment with an undetectable viral load (and no other significant health condition) are at no greater risk of serious health consequences due to COVID-19 than the general population. That being said, they should still take the advice of the health department in exercising precautions such as handwashing, working from home where possible, limiting time on public transport, and avoiding large groups or crowded areas.

Those PLHIV who fall into one of the vulnerable groups listed above should limit contact with others to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.

If you are living with HIV and are concerned you might be at risk, you should:

  • Maintain regularly scheduled medical appointments, but consider asking your doctor about telehealth consultations
  • Ensure you have between 1-3 month supply of any medications you currently take
  • Avoid stockpiling medications beyond a 1-3 month supply as this could cause unnecessary shortages
  • Be wary of advice or articles in social media — do not modify the medications you currently take without first consulting your doctor
  • Contact your doctor about getting vaccinations for influenza and pneumococcal when available
  • Keep in touch with friends, colleagues, and family via phone calls and video chat — consider scheduling regular catch ups
  • Stay in touch – our organisations will continue to release more information and resources as the situation continues to evolve

This public health issue can be stressful, but our communities have a long history of staying informed and collective action to ensure we look after our health as well as the wellbeing of those around us. Let’s keep this legacy going as we look after ourselves and those around us

Could It Be HIV? Video for GPs

Thorne Harbour Health, November 2017

‘Could it be HIV?’ features of the story of Abby Landy, whose story is all-too-common for the many individuals who are given a late HIV diagnosis.

Produced with the support of ViiV healthcare, this video encourages clinicians and doctors to ‘consider HIV’. This clip also features Professor Jenny Hoy from Alfred Health.

“This video is vital. We shouldn’t be missing opportunities to diagnose HIV. With a late diagnoses, there is already substantial damage to the immune system. Diagnosing HIV in a timely manner is paramount — for the benefit of the individual as well as the benefit of the broader community’s health and wellbeing.” – Jenny Hoy

  •  Watch embedded video below:

Updated Guidelines: Australian STI & HIV Testing Guidelines 2019 for Asymptomatic MSM

Sexually Transmissible Infections in Gay Men Action Group (STIGMA), September 2019

Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are asymptomatic. Testing and treatment of asymptomatic men who have sex with men (MSM) is the most effective method to interrupt transmission and reduce the burden of illness. In particular, syphilis is increasingly common, is often asymptomatic, and can cause significant morbidity.

The main barriers to STI control are insufficient frequency of testing in MSM, and incomplete testing. For example, chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests should be performed at all three sites (swab of oropharynx and anorectum, and first
pass urine), and syphilis serology should be performed every time a HIV test or HIV treatment monitoring is performed.

HIV is now a medically preventable infection. All men who are eligible under the Australian HIV Pre-Exposure guidelines should be actively offered PrEP: www.ashm.org.au/HIV/PrEP All people with HIV should be advised to commence treatment and, where possible, have an undetectable viral load.
These guidelines are intended for all MSM, including trans men who have sex with other men .

This current version is endorsed by the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexual Health Medicine, Australasian Sexual Health Alliance, Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and is approved as an accepted clinical resource by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

What’s new in HIV and hep C? An update for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers

Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), June 2019

This Deadly Sex Update webinar provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and community workers with an introduction and the latest news in hepatitis C and HIV.

The information presented supports health workers to discuss key messages with clients and the community around hep C and HIV, including testing, prevention, current treatments and management.

Presenter: Dr Darren Russell, Director of Cairns Sexual Health.
Presented on: Monday 10 June 2019

What’s new in HIV and hep C? An update for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers. Dr Darren Russell, June 2019 from ASHM on Vimeo.