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Positive Caring Handbook

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In 2013, Living Positive Victoria received a grant from the then-Department of Health and Aging under its Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Fund.

The Positive Caring Handbook is a resource developed as a joint project of Living Positive Victoria and the Royal District Nursing Service Limited (RDNS).

The handbook aims to answer common questions frequently asked by people caring PLHIV, and to provide clear and practical information.

Access the handbook here Positive+Caring+Handbook+-+March+2016


In the lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games let’s take a look at Zika virus…

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What is Zika and what are the symptoms?

Zika is caused by a flavivirus closely related to dengue and chikungunya. Only 1 in 5 people will exhibit symptoms. Zika infection can cause symptoms like fever, rash, severe headache, joint pain, muscle or bone pain. Illness from Zika is usually not severe and does not require hospitalisation. There is now strong scientific consensus that Zika infection is the cause of the majority of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

How is Zika transmitted?

Transmission can occur via bite from an Aedes mosquito, a blood to blood transfer or sexual contact from an infected male via his semen. Transmission via Aedes mosquito is the most common form of transmission. The Australian Health Department has a regularly updated  list of countries  in which Zika has been confirmed.

Types of Zika transmission

The virus has been known about for some years and the risk of transmission is considered low. There have been hundreds of recorded cases of sexual transmission from male to female and 1 case of male to male in the current epidemic in Central and South America. Sexual transmission of the virus can occur through oral, vaginal or anal sex. It is not known if sexual transmission of Zika can occur from female to male and there has been no evidence of this occurring to date. There have been a number of cases of Zika virus transmission in Brazil and French Polynesia via blood transfusions.

Microcephaly and Zika

The recent epidemics in Central and South America have seen a dramatic increase the number of recorded cases of microcephaly. In the period 2001 and 2014 Brazil had on average, about 163 cases of microcephaly a year (this includes non-Zika related microcephaly). For the year 2016 Brazil has advised that the number of Zika-related microcephaly  cases is stable at 4908. For key facts about Zika virus and pregnancy click here. There is no evidence of Zika virus transmission via breast milk.

What are the Australian recommendations for pregnant women?

The Australian Health Department describes Zika as an evolving situation. Info for clinicians and public health providers can be found here. A useful tool is the interim table for the clinical assessment and screening of asymptomatic pregnant women can be found here.

Sexual contact with a confirmed Zika-positive person or person who has traveled to Zika area

Current CDC guidelines advise abstinence or use of condoms for oral, anal, vaginal sexual contact for up to 6 months after a confirmed symptomatic or asymptomatic infection and abstinence or condoms for 8 weeks post a partner returning an area where there was Zika.


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World Hepatitis Day: A review of the WHO viral hepatitis strategy 2016-2021

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July 28th is World Hepatitis Day.

This year sees the first ever World Health Organization’s Global Strategy for Viral Hepatitis, which sets a goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

Click here to review the draft strategy.

The WHO sets a target to reduce 6-10 million infections to 1 million by 2030. Globally viral hepatitis is on the incline whilst HIV,TB and Malaria are seeing declines.

In Australia, chronic hepatitis B infections sit at around 250,000, with indigenous central Australians being a vulnerable sub-group for viral transmission as well as accessors to vaccination and treatment. Nationally too, our chronic hepatitis C population stubbornly sits at under 250,000 despite highly successful needle exchange programs, the good news for this cohort is that new oral treatments for hepatitis C appear to be well-tolerated and require a shorter course than interferon-based treatments and have cure rates of 90%. Comparatively, hepatitis B treatments are available but need to be lifelong for most people.

In summary the strategy sets 5 key areas of work over the period 2016-2030: vaccination, prevention of mother to child transmission, blood safe practices, harm reduction in IDU populations and treatments to achieving 1 million infections by 2030.

For access to further info on viral hepatitis consider continuing professional development courses via ASHM, sign up for nursing membership at Australian Hepatology Association, of particular clinical use is a free download copy of AHA consensus-based nursing guidelines for the management of viral hepatitis and don’t forget to Love your Liver!



2016 Conferences in HIV and Hepatitis

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News updates from ASHM

UNSW: Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis & Related Diseases
31 March-1 April 2016
margins & belonging: marginalised people building community
Stigmatised sexual and drug practices, and their associated infections and illnesses, produce specific forms of marginalisation for affected individuals and groups. But people in affected groups also forge a sense of belonging and community membership in a range of ways within broader society and within their affected communities. Earlybird Registration closes 1st Feb. Conference Website

INHSU: The 5th International Symposium on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users
7-9 September 2016

This leading International conference is focused on the management of hepatitis among substance users. It is now an annual symposium to keep pace with rapid development of new therapies and exciting new research on HCV care among people who inject drugs. Stay up-to-date with conference news by joining the mailing list

APSAD 2016
30 Oct-2 Nov 2016

The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs are pleased to invite you to Sydney for the APSAD 2016 Conference, which will feature an exciting program of international and national speakers. The Conference program will explore the individual, cultural, political, social and other contexts critical to effective prevention and treatment, through poster presentations, symposia, keynotes and concurrent sessions.

The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference
29 Sep-01 Oct 2016¬¬

This is the most important year in Australasian viral hepatitis and there will never be a moment like this in our field again – exciting times for patients, carers and professionals alike. The multi-disciplinary nature of the conference ensures that all in the sector will gain valuable information and networking opportunities from attending. Andrew Hill from the University of Liverpool, UK has confirmed as a keynote speaker. More will be advised soon. Sign up for the newsletter.

Australasian Sexual Health Conference
14-16 November 2016

It’s time to turn everything you know about Sexual Health on its head and ‘Rethink Sexual Health’
Speakers confirmed:
Associate Professor Amber D’Souza, John Hopkins University, USA
Professor Mark Hayter, Hull University, UK
Associate Professor Rebecca Guy, The Kirby Institute, Australia
Associate Professor Marion Saville, Executive Director of VCS Incorporated, Australia
For updates, Sign up to the newsletter
Visit the website

Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference 2016
16-18 November 2016

Reposition your thinking, reflect on your practice and reignite your passion at the Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference 2016 (27th Annual ASHM Conference).
Speaker confirmed: The conference organisers are pleased to announce that Professor Sheena McCormack, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology Imperial College London (ICL) will be presenting. More speakers to be confirmed in March. Sign up to the newsletter


EPIC-NSW: Launch of large new PrEP trial in NSW

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This week the NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner announced the funding of a new clinical PrEP trial called EPIC-NSW.

The trial is supported by_NSW Health and it will be steered by The University of NSW’s Kirby Institute. It is expected that the trial will enroll 3700 people.

In collaboration with ACON and ASHM, The NSW Sexual Health Infolink (SHIL) commenced taking calls from interested candidates this week. SHIL can assess eligibility, register interest and refer to local s100 prescribers & testing services in NSW.

It is important to note that PrEP will not be available to all who may want it through EPIC-NSW. It is believed that by targeting PrEP to those most at risk of HIV, the greatest reduction in HIV transmission can be achieved.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 30:  The Sydney Opera House is lit up red ahead of World AIDS Day 2010 on November 30, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. More than 80 iconic landmarks across 13 countries will join (RED) to promote awareness of the ongoing fight against the AIDS epidemic, by turning red to mark World AIDS Day on December 1.  (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images for RED)

World AIDS Day 2016: NSW

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On 1st December 2015 the NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner launched the NSW HIV Strategy for 2016-2020.

The goals of the strategy are:
-To virtually eliminate HIV transmission in NSW by 2020
-To sustain the virtual elimination of HIV transmission in people who inject drugs, sex workers and from mother-to-child.

For more details visit the NSW Health website: