Hundreds of conference delegates enjoyed a wide range of presentations, Q & A sessions and film screenings.
AFAO's Michael Frommer reports back.
|L-R: Harry McNulty (VAC), Dean Price (ACON), Max Mack (QUAC) and Rob Lake (AFAO).|
- Licensing of Truvada as PrEP
- Research to support an application on funding
- Discussion about PrEP as part of health promotion work for HIV prevention and sexual health for gay men, and
- The issues PrEP raises for other communities.
Max Mack from the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) also shared his experience with PrEP as a trans gay guy, saying that using it makes him feel comfortable and confident.
This special edition, Expanded horizons for HIV treatment and prevention, was launched by AFAO President Bridget Haire immediately after the panel.
Thursday lunchtime a crowd assembled for a packed session which included the launch of a new PrEP awareness campaign, updates on a trial of treatments access for people not eligible for Medicare, and a sex worker panel discussion of key policy and advocacy issues.
|Scarlet Alliance's sex worker panel - Cameron Cox, Candi Forrest and Jules Kim.|
Calling for a 'snap to action' to improve prevention, treatment & care for sex workers, the panel referred the Hub audience to their 2014 document, Key issues: sex worker policy issues in Australia, and to the Lancet special issue on sex work.
NAPWHA CEO Aaron Cogle presented on the Australian Temporary Resident's Access Study (ATRAS), which has provided antiretroviral treatment to 180 people who were not eligible for Medicare since 2012.
Key findings at the 24 month point of the study were that:
- Providing ARV's to PLHIV makes them healthier
- Treating Medicare Ineligible people is cost neutral over 5 years
- Two thirds of Medicare ineligible become eligible within 2 years, and
- 81 new infections can be averted over 5 years.
ComePrepdQuAC's launch of ComePrepd - its new campaign about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) - was an engaging event on a topic of great community interest.
A key feature of ComePrepd is that it is a completely community created and developed awareness campaign, comprising a website (www.comeprepd.info) and a strong social media component which encourages the sharing of information among social networks.
|The ComePrepd team. Photo: (c) Australasian HIV/AIDS Conference, ASHM, and Amanda James |
of James Photography Services. Reproduced with permission.
Thursday's Hub activities concluded with a panel on HIV and mobility, including the launch of the CoPAHM report card on initiatives related to population mobility and AFAO's HIV and CALD communities: Mapping health promotion and resources.
|L-R: Linda Forbes (AFAO), Andrew Burry (WAAC), Lea Narciso (SA Health), |
Graham Brown (ARCSHS), Chris Lemoh (Monash Health).
View presentation or download the interim report card
Lea Narciso from SA Health discussed the changing epidemic in South Australia, which now includes an increasing number of people born overseas, and the government's policy response.
View Lea's presentation
AFAO's mapping of HIV health promotion activities with CALD communities was launched at the Hub by AFAO Policy Manager Linda Forbes. This followed a community launch the previous evening by AFAO Board member Alison Coelho, at an African community event organised by the Ethnic Communities Council of Qld.
Download the mapping
Friday sessionsJames Gray from ACON led a lively interactive Q and A session when the Hub opened on Friday, opening up a dialogue about the importance of rapid testing.
However there were good news stories too. An audience member discussed the launch of a new rapid testing initiative in SA, and James also described the upcoming plans for dried blood-spot testing in NSW.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV responseIn her presentation on 21 years of the Anwernekenhe National HIV Alliance, the ANA's President Michelle Tobin outlined details of Anwernekenhe 6: Remembering, Recognising and Responding - the ANA's forthcoming National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Conference on HIV Education, Prevention and Wellbeing. The conference will be held in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) 12 - 14 November 2015.
For 19 years the 2Spirits Program has provided health promotion activities that incorporate cultural practices into a health promotion framework to engage with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander gay men and sistergirls in Queensland.
Brett Mooney and Phillip Sariago described how their cultural identity as health professionals and community members reinforces their connection with communities and is the 'key' to their connectedness and rapport with the target group - normalising conversations about sexual health, sexuality and identity.
|Brett Mooney and Phillip Sariago.|
Brett stressed that the Program is never simply 'culturally appropriate', but instead incorporates a cultural way of working in every aspect of the work.
Cultural issues were also a focus for the following session on partnerships with faith leaders. AFAO's Linda Forbes and Alison Coelho from the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health in Melbourne described initiatives to engage faith leaders from migrant and refugee communities in the response to HIV.
|Alison Coelho and Linda Forbes.|
View Alison's presentation
Hub proceedings closed with the launch of the HIV Futures 8 survey. This panel session provided an update on the latest iteration of the study, which is a major survey of people living with HIV in Australia. Futures, which was first run in 1997, is an ongoing research project of the Australian Research Centre for Sex Health and Society (ARCSHS).
|L-R: Edwina Wright, Robert Mitchell, and Jennifer Power.|
Associate Professor Edwina Wright (Alfred Hospital) stressed that the survey provides invaluable knowledge in a clinical setting about the lived experience of people with HIV.
Robert Mitchell reiterated NAPWHA's ongoing to support people living with HIV to contribute to the survey.
Go to the Futures 8 survey
|Finn O'Keefe, AFAO Communications Officer is a key member of the Hub team.|
Feedback from the punters has been very positive, so we hope to see you all again at ASHM 2016.
View more Hub photos
Coming soon: links to the Hub's mini film festival