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

One in six Australian women experience abuse before they are 15, data shows

Damning new data about Australia’s rates of domestic and sexual violence reveal that one in six women experience abuse before they are 15 and one woman is killed by her partner every nine days.

Based on national population surveys and set against a backdrop of declines in overall violence, rates of partner violence and sexual violence have remained relatively stable since 2005, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows.

Actions to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse, and Intersex elders

Australian Department of Health, February 2019

We know that LGBTI older people and elders are likely to have experienced violence, stigma and discrimination throughout their lives. As a result, they may be reluctant to disclose their identities or histories to aged care services and therefore remain isolated or invisible within both the aged care sector and the broader community. Combined with general stigmatisation and invisibility of LGBTI needs at large, this results in a lack of awareness of the unique needs of LGBTI elders and older people, including a lack of targeted services to support them. In addition, the fear of mistreatment or rejection from aged care providers can lead to LGBTI elders and older people delaying seeking care until their health deteriorates or a crisis occurs.

Many LGBTI elders and older people have lived through a time where identities were pathologised or criminalised, aversion therapies were encouraged, and non-consensual surgeries were routinely performed. As a result, many LGBTI older people have learned to conceal their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status in order to be safe, particularly when interacting with the health or social services sector. The fear and mistrust of these services in the past have led LGBTI elders and older people to be reluctant to utilise mainstream services, including aged care. Reliving past discrimination when encountering new forms of discrimination in the aged care
environment can lead to feelings of anxiety and/or depression.

The Action Plan is a resource that will assist aged care service providers to better understand how they can advocate for and support LGBTI elders and older people. By providing culturally safe and inclusive services, providers will build confidence amongst LGBTI elders and older people and their carers, families of choice (who may or may not include biological family) and allies that aged care services are available for them and they will be given the support and care they need as they age.

The Consumer Guide captures the voice of LGBTI peoples expressed through those consultations. It is intended both to help LGBTI peoples express their needs when speaking with aged care providers and as a resource to support people working in aged care to understand the perspectives of LGBTI peoples.

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.

Survey for Women living with HIV

napwha, femfatales, Relationships Australia South Australia, September 2018

WOMEN’S EXPERIENCE OF LIVING WITH HIV AND AGEING

This survey is the result of a collaboration between MOSAIC, NAPWHA and Femfatales. They encourage all women living with HIV, regardless of age, to be motivated to consider their health, to reflect on living with HIV, and to complete this survey so that their voices may be heard.

The feedback from this survey can be used to make positive changes in the delivery of support to women living with HIV. Please complete this survey by Friday October 26th 2018. The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete.