Updated blood borne virus guidelines for health professionals in SA

SA Health, 11 April 2019

The ‘Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Healthcare Workers Living with Blood Borne Viruses and Healthcare Workers who Perform Exposure Prone Procedures at Risk of Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses’ have been updated. They can be viewed on the Commonwealth Department of Health website.

The guidelines are in two parts:

Part A provides information and recommendations for all healthcare workers, in particular:

  • healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures
  • healthcare workers living with a blood borne virus, and
  • doctors treating healthcare workers with a blood borne virus.

Part B provides information and recommendations for public health authorities including, but not limited to, hospitals and jurisdictional health departments, when managing or investigating a situation where a healthcare worker with a blood borne virus was not compliant with these guidelines and/or may have placed a patient(s) at risk of infection.

 

 

STIs in remote Australia

ABC Health Report, Monday 18 March 2019 5:45 PM

Leading Aboriginal researcher Associate Professor James Ward* is calling for action in remote Australia to deal with a preventable epidemic of sexually transmissible infections — including syphilis — in a population that’s no more sexually active than non-Indigenous people of the same age.  

He joined Dr Norman Swan’s Health Report on ABC RN.

Later this month James will present to the National Rural Health Conference about addressing sexually transmitted infections in remote Australia.

*James Ward is Associate Professor, Flinders University; & Head of Infectious Diseases Research, Aboriginal Health, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. 

 

 

80% of new HIV cases transmitted by undiagnosed or untreated people

Healio, March 18, 2019

In 2016, more than 80% of new HIV infections in the United States were transmitted by individuals who either did not know they were infected with HIV or had been diagnosed but were not receiving care, according to data released on the first day of the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta.

Smoking and HIV: what are the risks and what harm reduction strategies do we have at our disposal?

AIDS Res Ther. 2018 Dec 12;15(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s12981-018-0213-z.

Abstract

The World Health Organization estimates that smoking poses one of the greatest global health risks in the general population. Rates of current smoking among people living with HIV (PLHIV) are 2-3 times that of the general population, which contributes to the higher incidence of non-AIDS-related morbidity and mortality in PLHIV.

Given the benefit of smoking cessation, strategies to assist individuals who smoke to quit should be a primary focus in modern HIV care.

Tobacco harm reduction focuses on reducing health risk without necessarily requiring abstinence. However, there remains uncertainty about the safety, policy and familiarity of specific approaches, particularly the use of vaporised nicotine products. Evidence suggests that vaporised nicotine products may help smokers stop smoking and are not associated with any serious side-effects. However, there is the need for further safety and efficacy data surrounding interventions to assist quitting in the general population, as well as in PLHIV specifically.

In addition, official support for vaping as a harm reduction strategy varies by jurisdiction and this determines whether medical practitioners can prescribe vaporised products and whether patients can access vaporised nicotine products. When caring for PLHIV who smoke, healthcare workers should follow general guidelines to assist with smoking cessation.

These include: asking the patient about their smoking status; assessing the patient’s readiness to quit and their nicotine dependence; advising the patient to stop smoking; assisting the patient in their attempt to stop smoking through referral, counselling, pharmacotherapy, self-help resources and/or health education; and arranging follow-up with the patient to evaluate their progress.

“No‐one’s driving this bus” – qualitative analysis of PrEP health promotion for Aboriginal gay and bisexual men

“No‐one’s driving this bus” – qualitative analysis of PrEP health promotion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay and bisexual men

Aust NZ J Public Health,  2019; 43:18-23; doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12852
Objective: HIV prevention tools such as pre‐exposure prophylaxis require equitable access and uptake to protect all at‐risk populations. This project assessed the perceived barriers to accessible HIV prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay and bisexual men (GBM) and evaluated the presence of health promotion for pre‐exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for this population from the perspective of service providers.

Methods: Eighteen semi‐structured interviews with healthcare providers, researchers and AIDS Council employees were qualitatively analysed for themes and concepts related to PrEP‐specific health promotion.

Results: Respondents noted AIDS Councils and affiliated sexual health clinics had been instrumental in promoting PrEP to at‐risk GBM. However, many Aboriginal gay and bisexual men who are not well connected with these communities and services may not have been exposed to this health promotion and therefore have not accessed PrEP effectively.

Conclusions: Aboriginal community and gay community controlled health organisations need to collaborate to ensure they deliver effective and tailored health promotion to Aboriginal communities.

Implications for public health: The rising HIV notification rates in Aboriginal Australians is an example of the health gap experienced by First Nation people. Effective HIV prevention is required to ensure this gap does not widen further, and that Australia meets its goal of preventing all new HIV infections. However, these efforts will be hampered by ineffective health promotion of HIV prevention tools, such as PrEP, for Aboriginal Australians.

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.