HIV diagnoses in Australia drop to lowest number in 18 years: report

Kirby Institute, July 3rd, 2019

Australia continues to lead the world in HIV prevention and in 2018 recorded the lowest number of HIV diagnoses since 2001.

According to a report released today by the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, last year there were 835 HIV diagnoses across the country, which represents a decline of 23% over five years.

The declines reported today are largely due to reductions in the number of HIV diagnoses that are reported as attributable to sex between men. Over the past five years, HIV diagnoses have reduced by 30% among this population.

The report reveals no declines among heterosexual populations, with new diagnoses relatively stable among this group.

Similarly, there have been no declines in HIV diagnoses among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

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

 

Support for ending and managing HIV

Australian Government Department of Health, 29 November 2018

The Australian Government is strengthening its commitment to ending HIV with the announcement of funding for a new strategy that aims to virtually eliminate the transmission of HIV, the approval of the first HIV self-testing kit and the listing of a new medicine on the PBS.

The first HIV self-testing kit, the Atomo Self Test was approved for use by the TGA yesterday. The test is a single-use rapid finger stick test for the detection of antibodies to HIV and will enable people to test for HIV in their own home.

This will make testing accessible and convenient especially for people that need to test frequently or do not test at all.

The medicine Juluca® (dolutegravir and rilpivirine), which works to stop the replication of the HIV virus, will be listed on the PBS on December 1, which is World AIDS Day.

 

Clinical Education Forum Recording: Contraception Update

SHINE SA, November 2018

Clinicians:  SHINE SA is pleased to present the following Clinical Forum by Dr Amy Moten on the topic of Contraception.

This recording is available free of charge, and access is limited to three months only.

This forum covers emergency contraception and new formulations of the Pill.

3 Category 2 RACGP Points can be awarded on completion of the forum.

Recording length: 1 hour 18 minutes

Barriers to HIV testing for people born in Southeast Asia & sub-Saharan Africa

Curtin University,  2017

Over the past decade Australia has seen an increase in HIV notifications among people born in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South East Asia (SEA).

People born in these regions have the highest rates of HIV diagnosis by region of birth and are overrepresented in late or advanced presentations of HIV infection.

Previous research indicates that migrants from SSA and SEA attend health services in Australia regularly, but only 50% have ever tested for HIV.

This report provides a brief overview of the preliminary results from the Barriers to HIV
testing project – a qualitative research project using focus groups and in-depth interviews to explore the barriers and enablers to HIV testing among priority communities born in SSA and SEA, to better understand the factors influencing late
diagnosis.

HIV PrEP available on PBS in Australia from 1 April / Links to Clinical Resources

Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), 21 March 2018

ASHM congratulates the Federal Health Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt’s announcement of a landmark in HIV prevention to approve HIV-prevention drugs – tenofovir with emtricitabine, known as PrEP – on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from 1 April, thereby providing broader access for any doctor or general practitioner to be able prescribe PrEP to an Australian resident who holds a current Medicare card.

“The public health benefits are clear, undeniable and transformative benefiting individuals at medium- to high-risk of HIV infection and towards driving a substantial reduction in HIV transmissions in Australia,” said ASHM President, Associate Professor Bloch.

Access Links to Clinical Resources supporting the HIV workforce

  • The definitions of risk for HIV, guidelines and procedures for the appropriate administration and monitoring of PrEP can be found here: ASHM HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis: clinical guidelines
  • The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and ASHM have produced a PrEP Fact Sheet to assist PrEP users and people with an interest in using PrEP to understand what subsidised access to PrEP through the PBS means. Access the factsheet here
  • ASHM continues to support the workforce to ensure access to PrEP and best practice in guidelines, training and resources. Access information here
  • The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has a range of training to support pharmacists in preparing for PrEP on the PBS: www.psa.org.au