‘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
VAC has learned that a person on the Victorian PrEPX study has seroconverted and become HIV positive. There are two ways that this may have occurred.
• If a person is not adherent to their PrEP regimen (taking the prescribed dose regularly) it is possible that they would not be protected against acquiring HIV;
• If a person comes into contact with a person living with HIV who has detectable viral load together with a strain of the virus that is resistant to PrEP medication it is possible (although extremely rare) that they might acquire that viral strain of HIV.
“Currently there are over 100,000 individuals who are taking PrEP globally as a way to protect themselves against HIV acquisition. To date there have been no confirmed cases in Australia of a person on PrEP being infected with a drug-resistant HIV,” commented VAC CEO, Simon Ruth.
Point of care (POC) testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is quick and convenient, providing results in 20 minutes rather than the next day. Some people refer to point of care testing as ‘rapid testing’.
HIV POC testing is now available in South Australia through a 12 month, Commonwealth funded demonstration project.
To find out details of where & when rapid tests are available, click here
The Seroconversion Study has existed in several forms since 1992. This most recent version completed data collection in 2015. Seroconversion studies have played an important role in the Australian HIV response and are a useful research tool in understanding the current circumstances of HIV infection.
As with previous versions of the study, this one mainly targeted gay and bisexual men (GBM). However, some limited data were collected from women and heterosexual men in this current version.
The Summary of Findings includes:
There are multiple reasons why men avoid or delay testing in the months or years prior to their diagnosis, including the belief that they had not done anything ‘risky’, and fear of being told they were HIV-positive. Men who were less socially connected to other gay men were more likely to have avoided or delayed testing prior to their diagnosis.
On reflection, most men were satisfied with how they were tested and how they received their positive diagnosis.
Knowledge of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) at the time of their HIV infection was
surprisingly low among these recently diagnosed individuals.
Few HIV infections among gay men are attributable to sex with their primary regular male partner (or ‘boyfriend’).
On the occasion when they believe they were infected, gay men who acquire HIV showed little evidence of the use of risk reduction strategies.
After diagnosis, and for some time thereafter, most gay men with HIV dramatically change their sexual behaviour in ways that would likely minimise the possibility of onward transmission.
Some individuals felt that their mental health had deteriorated since their diagnosis.
Access to peer-support after diagnosis was a key predictor of changes in sexual behaviour, disclosure of HIV status to others, and access to information.
The decision whether or not to commence ART by HIV-positive gay men continues to be a challenging one.
There was little evidence of substantial differences across the jurisdictions, except those that would be expected.
There was also little evidence of substantial changes over time.
Results from the 2007-2015 Seroconversion Study Report were presented at the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) National Gay Men’s HIV Health Promotion Conference in Manly, on Wednesday 20 April
Data from the latest and final report indicates that gay and bisexual men change their behaviour substantially following an HIV diagnosis, generally in ways that greatly reduce the possibility of onward transmission.
Behaviour changes include partner reduction, partner selection (serosorting), disclosure of HIV status, and reduced likelihood of condomless sex. Contact with peers seems to support these kinds of changes