Phylogenetic clustering networks among heterosexual migrants with new HIV diagnoses post-migration in Australia

Phylogenetic clustering networks among heterosexual migrants with new HIV diagnoses post-migration in Australia

Rachel Sacks-Davis  et al

PLOS One

Published: September 1, 2020

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237469

Background:

It is estimated that approximately half of new HIV diagnoses among heterosexual migrants in Victoria, Australia, were acquired post-migration. We investigated the characteristics of phylogenetic clusters in notified cases of HIV among heterosexual migrants.

Conclusion:

Migrants appear to be at elevated risk of HIV acquisition, in part due to intimate relationships between migrants from the same country of origin, and in part due to risks associated with the broader Australian HIV epidemic. However, there was no evidence of large transmission clusters driven by heterosexual transmission between migrants. A multipronged approach to prevention of HIV among migrants is warranted.

 

Thorne Harbour Health calls for community to stop having casual sex during COVID-19

Thorne Harbour Health – media release, 26 March 2020

For the first time in its four-decade history, Thorne Harbour Health is calling on communities to stop having casual sex in the face of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Thorne Harbour Health, formerly the Victorian AIDS Council, is calling on LGBTI communities and people living with HIV to limit their risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth said, “We’re faced by an unprecedented global health crisis. While COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted infection, the close personal contact we have when during sex poses a serious risk of COVID-19 transmission. We need people to stop having casual sex at this stage.”

“But after four decades of sexual health promotion, we know abstinence isn’t a realistic strategy for most people. We need to look at ways we can minimise risk while maintain a healthy sex life.”

Last week, the organisation released an info sheet with strategies to minimise the risk of COVID-19 while having sex. Strategies included utilising sex tech, solo sexuality, and limiting your sexual activity to an exclusive sexual partner, commonly known as a ‘f*ck buddy’.

“You can reduce your risk by making your sexual network smaller. If you have a regular sexual partner, have a conversation about the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Provided both of you are limiting your risk by working from home and exercising physical distancing from others, you can greatly reduce you chance of COVID-19 transmission,” said Simon Ruth.

The organisation’s stance is not dissimilar from advice from the UK government. Earlier this week, chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries advised couples not cohabitating to consider testing their relationship by moving in together during the country’s lockdown.

Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth released a video message today addressing sex & COVID-19 following last week’s message about physical distancing.

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. 

 

 

HIV diagnoses in migrant populations in Australia: a changing epidemiology

PLoS ONE ,14(2): e0212268. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212268

Abstract

Introduction

We conducted a detailed analysis of trends in new HIV diagnoses in Australia by country of birth, to understand any changes in epidemiology, relationship to migration patterns and implications for public health programs.

Methods

Poisson regression analyses were performed, comparing the age-standardised HIV diagnosis rates per 100,000 estimated resident population between 2006–2010 and 2011–2015 by region of birth, with stratification by exposure (male-to-male sex, heterosexual sex–males and females). Correlation between the number of permanent and long-term arrivals was also explored using linear regression models.

Results

Between 2006 and 2015, there were 6,741 new HIV diagnoses attributed to male-to-male sex and 2,093 attributed to heterosexual sex, with the proportion of diagnoses attributed to male-to-male sex who were Australian-born decreasing from 72.5% to 66.5%. Compared with 2006–2010, the average annual HIV diagnosis rate per 100,000 in 2011–15 attributed to male-to-male sex was significantly higher in men born in South-East Asia (summary rate ratio (SRR) = 1.37, p = 0.001), North-East Asia (SRR = 2.18, p<0.001) and the Americas (SRR = 1.37, p = 0.025), but significantly lower as a result of heterosexual sex in men born in South-East Asia (SRR = 0.49, p = 0.002), Southern and Central Asia (SRR = 0.50, p = 0.014) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SRR = 0.39, p<0.001) and women born in South-East Asia (SRR = 0.61, p = 0.002) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SRR = 0.61, p<0.001). Positive associations were observed between the number of permanent and long-term arrivals and HIV diagnoses particularly in relation to diagnoses associated with male-to-male sex in men from North Africa and the Middle East, North Asia, Southern and Central Asia and the Americas.

Conclusion

The epidemiology of HIV in Australia is changing, with an increase in HIV diagnosis rates attributed to male-to-male sex amongst men born in Asia and the Americas. Tailored strategies must be developed to increase access to, and uptake of, prevention, testing and treatment in this group.

 

Gonorrhoea and syphilis on the rise among among heterosexual men and women in Melbourne

ABC News, 16th January 2018

Melbourne is facing a rapid increase in cases of the sexually transmitted diseases syphilis and gonorrhoea.

Data from the Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic shows the number of gonorrhoea infections has increased 30 per cent annually since 2015.