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

Hepatitis B testing infographic now available

Hepatitis NSW, October 2017

With the increasing visibility of hep B, Hepatitis NSW felt there was a need to make information about hep B testing clearer. It can be a complex subject to grapple with and there’s lots of misinformation and confusion out there.

This hep B testing infographic aims to give both doctors and patients a clearer understanding of what tests to do as well as what the test results mean. On one side, we have an explanation of what the tests results mean which a doctor can use to explain a person’s results. On the other side, we have the reminder for the doctor to test the 3 key hep B tests. It’s really important to get all three done at once.

The aim is for people to take this infographic with them when they go and see their doctor about hep B testing – whether that’s checking their immunity, seeing if they’ve ever been exposed, or seeing if they have a hep B infection.

People can also call the Hepatitis SA Infoline on 1800 437 222 for further information.

  • Download infographic in English, Korean or Mandarin here 

Vaccine for Meningitis Shows Some Protection Against Gonorrhea

New Zealand Family Planning

Some strains of the bacterium that cause gonorrhoea are now resistant to all available antibiotics. With no new drugs on the near horizon, the disease is in desperate need of a vaccine.

Our research, published in the Lancet medical journal this week, shows that protection against gonorrhoea could come from an unexpected source – a vaccine against meningococcal group B disease.

 

 

 

‘Shock and kill’ therapy offers fresh hope for HIV cure, researchers say

PBS Newshour, December 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM EST

A new small-scale human trial of the promising “shock and kill” treatment is starting this week in New York and two sister sites, in Germany and Denmark. 

Another small human study will start in January, followed by a larger human shock and kill trial in June.

The HIV research community is increasingly optimistic about this approach to eradicating HIV from infected patients. Such removal of all traces of the virus from an individual’s body would represent an actual cure.

Read more here

HIV vaccine research: Adelaide team achieves ‘glimpse in right direction’

ABC News, 21.11.16

Progress toward vaccinating people against HIV infection has been announced by Adelaide researchers.

A team from the University of Adelaide and the Basil Hetzel Institute at Adelaide’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital used a combined vaccination approach, researcher Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk explained.

  • Read more here
  • Access article in Nature Scientific Reports (open access) here

HIV Therapy May Also Lower Risk for Hepatitis B, Study Says

Medline Plus, October 12, 2015

Not only does effective HIV therapy thwart that virus, it may also reduce the risk for hepatitis B infection, a new study says.

“What this means to us is that effective HIV therapy appears to restore an impairment in the immune response that protects someone with HIV from acquiring hepatitis B infection,” study senior author Dr. Chloe Thio said.

Read more here