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.

Lastest Gay Community Periodic Survey for Adelaide released

Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, June 2019

Gay Community Periodic Survey: Adelaide 2018

Authors: Broady, T., Mao, L., Bavinton, B., Jeffries, D., Bartlett, S., Calabretto, H., Narciso, L., Prestage, G., & Holt.

The Adelaide Gay Community Periodic Survey is a cross-sectional survey of gay and homosexually active men recruited at a range of gay community sites in Adelaide, and online throughout South Australia. The major aim of the survey is to provide data on sexual, drug use, and testing practices related to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs) among gay men. The most recent survey, the twelfth in South Australia, was conducted in November and December 2018 to coincide with the Adelaide Feast Festival.

Key points

– The proportion of men who reported ever having been tested for HIV increased from 83% in 2011 to 87% in 2018.

– The percentage of non-HIV-positive men who reported testing for HIV in the 12 months prior to the survey remained stable (and was reported by 71% in 2018), although the percentage reporting three or more HIV tests in the previous year increased (from 11% in 2014 to 22% in 2018).

– The use of HIV treatment by HIV-positive men has remained stable over time (and was reported by 93% of HIV-positive men in 2018). The percentage of men on antiretroviral treatment who reported an undetectable viral load also remained stable (reported by 94% in 2018).

Mobile phone apps remained the most common way that men met male sex partners, reported by 44% in 2018.

– The proportion of men with regular male partners reporting condomless anal intercourse with those partners (CAIR) increased from 55% in 2011 to 65% in 2018.

– The proportion of men with casual male partners reporting condomless anal intercourse with those partners (CAIC) increased from 38% in 2011 to 51% in 2018.

– Most of the recent increase in CAIC appears to be attributable to the growing proportion of HIV-negative men using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

STI testing among HIV-negative men has remained stable over time, with 74% reporting any STI test in the year prior to the 2018 survey. The proportion of HIV-positive men reporting any STI test in the previous year decreased from 91% in 2011 to 72% in 2018.

Use of PrEP increased between 2014 and 2018 from 1% to 16% of non-HIV-positive men.

A community perspective: On Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancer among women and, trans and gender diverse people

Positive Life NSW & Femfatales, April 2019

Authors: Liz Sutherland, Lance Feeney, Katya Samodurov

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus which can be passed through skin to skin contact during sexual activity. Evidence to date shows that women living with HIV are 3 to 6 times more likely to develop cervical cancer than the general female population. They are also at greater risk of developing anal, vaginal, oropharyngeal and vulvar cancers.

There are other groups who may have a higher but preventable risk because they are often left out of the conversation about HPV and related cancers. Trans men are less likely to be up-todate with Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer. Furthermore, several studies have highlighted that trans and gender diverse people, and lesbian and bisexual cis-gendered women are often disregarded as not being at risk.

Positive Life and Femfatales developed a cross-sectional study to:

• Assess awareness and knowledge of HPV infection and risk for 4 HPV-related cancers (cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal) among women and, trans and gender diverse people in Australia;

• Assess the knowledge gaps to inform the development and implementation of population-specific educational resources to increase community and healthcare professional awareness of HPV and related cancers;

• Assist with the prevention of morbidity and mortality by increasing screening, early detection and treatment of HPV-related cancers, and;

• Assess rates of HPV vaccination in women and, trans and gender diverse people

KEY FINDINGS:

1. The results from this survey highlighted a lack of awareness of risk, prevention,
symptoms, and early detection of HPV-related vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers.

2. Approximately 28% of HIV-positive respondents were unaware that a vaccination
against HPV exists and 71% of HIV-positive respondents had not been vaccinated
against HPV.

3. Over half (60%) of HIV-positive respondents believe their risk of anal cancer was either‘about the same’, ‘lower’, or ‘much lower’ than the general female population’s risk.

4. While all HIV-positive respondents had screened for cervical cancer at some point in
their lives, 91.7% had never had an anal examination for anal cancer.

5. Among HIV-positive and HIV-negative but immunocompromised respondents who had undergone staging or treatment for either cervical, vaginal, or vulvar cancer, none had ever screened for anal cancer.

6. Of the HIV-positive respondents who do not receive screening reminder notifications, none were aware of the new 3 yearly National Cervical Screening Guidelines and changes.

7. Qualitative responses indicated that respondents generally preferred having clinician-initiated conversations with female doctors or nurses who were non-judgemental, non-dismissive, clear, and made them feel comfortable.

8. In an open-ended short-answer question, more than 25% of qualitative respondents felt that more awareness and normalising talking about HPV in the public realm would help increase their chance of detecting HPV-related cancer early.

New Bacterial Vaginosis Fact Sheet

SHINE SA, May 2019

SHINE SA has recently produced a bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. 

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition where there are too many of a certain type of bacteria in the vagina. Bacteria which are normally present in small numbers can sometimes overgrow, causing bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection. Bacterial vaginosis can occur when conditions in the vagina change and upset the normal balance of bacteria. It can be associated with new or increased sexual activity or with other changes such as menstruation or sexually transmitted infections.

HIV Futures 9: deadline extended, last chance to participate, closes 28th May

The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University, May 2019

HIV Futures is a survey about health, treatments, work, finances, sex and relationships of people living with HIV (PLHIV).

HIV Futures is run by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and
Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University, who are still seeking participants for HIV Futures 9.

If you are aged over 18 years and living with HIV, please fill in the online survey, it takes about 25 minutes.

HIV Futures is the largest and most influential Australian study of people living with HIV. It has been running for 21 years, and directly informs quality of life indicators in the National HIV strategy and is used for HIV community service planning and advocacy.

STI’S on the rise in SA – free campaign resources (SHINE SA media release)

SHINE SA, April 2, 2019

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates are on the rise in South Australia, with around 1 in 20 young people infected with chlamydia¹. Left untreated chlamydia can lead to infection of the reproductive systems and long term consequences. Having one STI also increases the risk of being infected with another. As such it’s important that young people in SA are encouraged to practise safer sex as well as getting a sexual health check.

In response to this rise in STIs, SHINE SA is excited to announce the launch of their Sexual Health Check campaign and related resources for use across South Australia. These resources can be used by organisations including universities, secondary schools, youth services, general practice and community health services.

The Sexual Health Check campaign aims to raise awareness of STIs as well as highlight how easy it is to get a sexual health check.
According to the most recent epidemiological report released by SA Health in 2017, STI and blood borne viruses (BBVs) have jumped 14% compared to the previous five years.

In 2017:

  • there were 8,181 new infections of STIs and BBVs, this is a 7% increase compared to 2016
  • 77% of infections were in people aged 15 to 29 years.

SHINE SA encourages young people to receive a sexual health check at a SHINE SA clinic, their local doctor or Aboriginal Health service. SHINE SA offers FREE sexual health checks as well as counselling to South Australians under the age of 30 with a Medicare Card.

Dr Amy Moten, SHINE SA’s Coordinator of Medical Education said:
“STIs are on the rise, so practicing safer sex and having regular testing is vital. Left untreated, serious infection may occur and lead to complications such as infertility, chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy. As most people don’t have any symptoms, lack of testing contributes to the continued spread of the disease”.

SHINE SA hopes other health and education organisations and media outlets can assist by promoting and sharing the Sexual Health Check campaign. By doing so we can help raise awareness of STIs in the community and encourage young people to access sexual heath checks.

  • The free campaign resources including a Sexual Health + STIs FAQ booklet, posters and social media tiles can be downloaded here
  • For further information contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development, by email here 
  • Download this media release

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¹ http://www.sti.guidelines.org.au/populations-and-situations/young-people