Delayed linkage to HIV care among asylum seekers

Kronfli, N., Linthwaite, B., Sheehan, N. et al. Delayed linkage to HIV care among asylum seekers in Quebec, CanadaBMC Public Health 191683 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8052-y

Abstract:

Background

Migrants represent an increasing proportion of people living with HIV in many developed countries. We aimed to describe the HIV care cascade and baseline genotypic resistance for newly diagnosed asylum seekers referred to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients linked to the MUHC from June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018. We calculated the median time (days; interquartile range (IQR)) from: 1) entry into Canada to immigration medical examination (IME) (i.e. HIV screening); 2) IME to patient notification of diagnosis; 3) notification to linkage to HIV care (defined as a CD4 or viral load (VL) measure); 4) linkage to HIV care to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) prescription; and 5) cART prescription to viral suppression (defined as a VL < 20 copies/mL). We reviewed baseline genotypes and interpreted mutations using the Stanford University HIV Drug Resistance Database. We calculated the proportion with full resistance to > 1 antiretroviral.

Results

Overall, 43% (60/139) of asylum seekers were newly diagnosed in Canada. Among these, 62% were late presenters (CD4 < 350 cells/μl), 22% presented with advanced HIV (CD4 < 200 cells/μl), and 25% with high-level viremia (VL > 100,000 copies/ml). Median time from entry to IME: 27 days [IQR:13;55]; IME to notification: 28 days [IQR:21;49]; notification to linkage: 6 days [IQR:2;19]; linkage to cART prescription: 11 days [IQR:6;17]; and cART to viral suppression: 42 days [IQR:31;88]; 45% were linked to HIV care within 30 days. One-fifth (21%) had baseline resistance to at least one antiretroviral agent; the K103 N/S mutation was the most common mutation.

Conclusions

While the majority of newly diagnosed asylum seekers were late presenters, only 45% were linked to care within 30 days. Once linked, care and viral suppression were rapid. Delays in screening and linkage to care present increased risk for onward transmission, and in the context of 21% baseline resistance, consideration of point-of-care testing and immediate referral at IME screening should be made.

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:

New report: Surveillance of STIs and Blood-Borne Viruses in South Australia, 2018

Communicable Disease Control Branch, SA Health, July 2019

In 2018, there were 8,556 new notifications of STI and BBV in South Australia. This represents a 3% increase in the number of new notifications compared to notifications received in 2017.

In 2018, there were 6,256 notifications of Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia) making this the most commonly notified STI in South Australia. The demographics of people diagnosed with chlamydia have remained relatively stable over the past five
years.

There were no notifications of donovanosis in 2018.

There were 1,288 notifications of gonorrhoea in 2018. The notification rate of gonorrhoea increased from 45 per 100,000 population in 2014 to 74 per 100,000 population in 2017 and 2018. The rate in the Aboriginal population was 813 per 100,000 population in 2018 compared to 55 per 100,000 population in the non-Indigenous population.

There were 203 notifications of infectious syphilis in 2018, the highest number of annual notifications in the past 10 years. The notification rate of infectious syphilis in 2018 was 11.7 per 100,000 population, more than double the rate in 2016 of 5.2 per 100,000 population. In 2018, 88% of notifications were in males, the majority being among men who have sex with men (MSM) (75%). Infectious syphilis remains high in the Aboriginal population. There were no notifications of congenital syphilis in 2018.

There were 39 new diagnoses of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in 2018. Thirty-two of the 39 notifications were in males (82%). In 2018, 63% of male cases reported male-to-male sex. Six females acquired their infection overseas and one in South Australia.

There were four notifications of newly acquired hepatitis B infection in 2018, below the five year average (2013-2017) of eight cases per year. There were no notifications in the Aboriginal population. There were 254 notifications of unspecified hepatitis B infection reported in 2018, a decrease compared to the five year average (2013-2017) of 325 cases per year. The notification rate has declined in the Aboriginal population over the past five years.

There were 41 notifications of newly acquired hepatitis C in 2018. Sixty-one per cent of cases were males, and 66% were aged 30 years and over. The notification rate of unspecified hepatitis C infection was 22.2 per 100,000 population in 2018, with a
total of 385 notifications in 2018 compared to 465 in 2017.

There were five new diagnoses of hepatitis D infection in 2018, below the five year average (2013-2017) of 9.8 cases per year.

 

Cervical cancer self-tests helping to break down barriers and increase screening rates

ABC Health & Wellbeing, Posted Friday 8th March 2019 at 14:54

In Australia, 80 per cent of cervical cancers are found in women who are overdue for screening or have never been screened.

“We know there’s an equity issue in our cervical screening program,” said Dr Saville, executive director of the VCS Foundation, a cervical screening not-for-profit.

“Women from lower socio-economic settings, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds do not screen as often … and are more likely to get cancer.”

In a bid to overcome these barriers, a self-testing process was introduced to Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program in 2017.

Australia will never be HIV-free if access to prevention requires a medicare card

The Conversation, January 23, 2019 12.21pm AEDT

by Nicholas Medland, Sexual health physician and senior researcher, UNSW

Australia aims to “virtually eliminate” HIV transmission by 2022, according to the health minister’s new national HIV strategy. This ambitious goal has been made possible by biomedical HIV prevention, a new and highly effective way of preventing HIV using medications.

But new inequalities are emerging between those who can and can’t access these medications because of their Medicare eligibility. These inequalities may undermine the success of HIV elimination in Australia and threaten Australia’s international reputation as a safe place to study, work and live.

Read more of Australia will never be HIV-free if access to prevention requires a medicare card

 

Factors associated with testing for HIV in people aged ≥50 years

BMC Public Health 2018 18:1204

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6118-x

Published: 26 October 2018

Factors associated with testing for HIV in people aged ≥50 years: a qualitative study

Abstract

Background

Despite a decline in the number of new HIV infections in the UK overall, the number and proportion of new HIV diagnoses in people aged ≥50 years continues to increase. People aged ≥50 years are disproportionately affected by late diagnosis, which is associated with poorer health outcomes, increased treatment complexity and increased healthcare costs. Late HIV diagnosis also has significant public health implications in terms of onward HIV transmission. It is not fully understood what factors affect the decision of an older person to test for HIV. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with testing for HIV in people aged ≥50 years who tested late for HIV.

Methods

We interviewed 20 people aged ≥50 years diagnosed late with HIV to identify factors associated with HIV testing. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.

Results

Seven themes associated with HIV testing in people aged ≥50 years were identified: experience of early HIV/AIDS campaigns, HIV knowledge, presence of symptoms and symptom attribution, risk and risk perception, generational approaches to health and sexual health, stigma, and type of testing and testing venue.

Conclusion

Some factors associated with testing identified in this study were unique to older individuals. People aged ≥50 years often do not perceive themselves to be at risk of HIV. Further, stigma and a lack of knowledge of how to access HIV testing suggest a need for health promotion and suggest current sexual health services may need to adapt to better meet their needs.