One in five new HIV infections is acquired overseas, according to new figures, sparking a public health campaign targeting travellers both leaving and arriving in Australia. New data from NSW Health shows that of the 354 people newly diagnosed, 21 per cent were likely to have acquired their HIV infection oversea
FUSE Magazine - HIV/AIDS
With 2014 done and dusted, now is an apt time to reflect on the year’s HIV-related accomplishments and achievements. And there’s much to acknowledge — not least of all AIDS 2014.
As new HIV infections continue to climb in the territory, the ACT government has joined with advocacy groups to craft a new framework to bring the disease under control across Canberra.
HIV/AIDS HAS had a huge impact on communities all over the world.
It wasn’t that long ago when the first case of HIV/AIDS in Australia was recorded in Sydney, October 1982, and the first Australian death from AIDS occurred in Melbourne, July 1983. Many lives have been lost since then, and people are still contracting HIV today.
Last month, my partner and I joined our local community to honour and remember those whom we have lost to AIDS in the Australian Capital Territory and throughout the world.
This year in Canberra, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial was held for the first time in the beautiful Margaret Whitlam Pavilion at the National Arboretum.
The ceremony was a time to mark the many steps we have made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but it was also an opportunity to remember the suffering and loss experienced by many, and to call on the community for greater acceptance and support for those still in need.
The Memorial was hosted by Genevieve Jacobs and included some rousing speeches from Professor John Dwyer, Senator Katy Gallagher and former AIDS Action Council President Scott Malcolm. We listened to cellist Christian J. Renggli as the names of the lost were remembered. And the Canberra Gay & Lesbian Qwire sang as candles were lit and tears were shed. The AIDS Candlelight Memorial is indeed a sombre event, but it is also a day of hope, courage and possibility. We were honoured to be part of such an important occasion.
Here in Canberra there is currently no permanent place for people to gather and remember those lost to AIDS. In response to this, a community group made up of people living with HIV, their families and their friends, together with the support of the AIDS Action Council, have spent many years searching for a suitable site where this space could be created.
During the Memorial we were thrilled to hear that this has finally come to fruition. The AIDS Garden of Reflection will be built at the National Arboretum in the ‘Gallery of Gardens’ located on the Arboretum’s events terrace. The five hundred square metre garden will feature a range of native plants and sculptures by renowned landscape architects, with the objective of providing a peaceful space for remembrance, reflection and inspiration.
Of course, large projects like this one cost money and as a community we have an ambitious goal — to raise $125,000 which is needed to make this important and long-held dream a reality. You can help by making a tax deductible donation. Visit aidsgardenact.com.au
You’ll find some more information about the AIDS Garden of Reflection on p12. Also in this issue we look at why blocking same-sex marriage has significant economic consequences p17; the new documentary Oriented which explores the lives of three gay Palestinian friends in Tel Aviv p21; what you can expect if you’re dating an air sign p24; we celebrate gay love letters through history p23; and don’t miss our four glorious pages of photos from this year’s 2016 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras p39.
FUSE49 : Love is Love (Boy Cover)
FUSE49 : Love is Love (Girl Cover)
Loss of brothers behind Canberra businessman's move to help the AIDS Action Council of the ACT. Speaking at this years AIDS Action Counci AGM, high-profile Canberra businessman John Mackay said the pain of losing two brothers to AIDS was behind a move to try to reduce the stigma around HIV in the ACT.
Mental health issues may increase HIV risk among gay, bisexual men. Gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of acquiring the virus that leads to AIDS if they have mental health problems, according to a new study.
New compound that blocks multiple HIV infections shows promise as AIDS vaccine. Researchers have developed a drug that is able to prevent multiple strains of HIV from infecting healthy cells.
Free and confidential sexual health testing and/or education @ headspace Canberra
1st Wednesday of each month!
Individual appointments for young people will run for approximately 30 minutes, between 1pm and 4pm. You do not need to be a client of headspace Canberra, but you do need to be under the age of 25.
PrEP can be difficult to access for gay Australians. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP, is a drug which if taken daily can prevent HIV infection. More than 27,000 Australians are living with HIV and PrEP is a potential game-changer, but it can be frustratingly difficult to access. The drug only offers protection against HIV.
“We are not dirty, we are not a threat, and we are not disease vectors.” Dr. Richard Wolitski, director of the Office for HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told the crowd at the US Conference on AIDS, talking about HIV+ men with undetectable viral loads.
Do you think you have been exposed to HIV?
It's vital that PEP be started as soon as possible after any possible exposure to HIV -- preferably within a few hours.
This gives the drugs the best chance to work against HIV before it becomes established in the immune system. PEP should be started as soon as possible, but may be taken up to 72 hours after the exposure.
How do you get PEP in Canberra ACT
Business hours you should contact:
- Canberra Sexual Health Centre: 6244 2184
- Interchange General Practice: 02 6247 574
After hours you should contact:
The Hospital Emergency Department:
- The Canberra Hospital: 6244 2222
- Calvary Hospital: 6201 6111
How do you get PEP in Syndey NSW
Business hours you should contact:
Taylor Square Private Clinic: 1800 751 360
After hours you should contact:
PEP Hotline: 1800 737 669 - 24 Hours, 7 days a week.
If you want to talk to someone about PEP you can call:
- 24hr PEP Hotline: 1800 737 669
- Canberra Sexual Health Centre: 6244 2184
- AIDS Action Council of the ACT (9-5 Mon-Fri): 6257 2855
- ACON AIDS Council of New South Wales (NSW): 02 9206 2000
- HIV Support Services
What is PEP?
PEP, or post exposure prophylaxis is a 4 week course of anti-HIV drugs that are taken shortly after possible exposure to HIV infection. Taking the drugs may help reduce the risk of acquiring HIV if you have an exposure to the virus.
When should I take PEP?
It is recommended that PEP be started as soon as possible after the exposure to HIV – preferably within a few hours. This gives the drugs the best chance to work against HIV before it becomes established in the immune system. PEP should be started as soon as possible, but may be taken up to 72 hours after the exposure.
Who should take PEP?
Anyone who has had risky contact with a person who has HIV, or who may have HIV, should consider taking PEP. This risky contact may include unsafe sex, sharing injecting equipment, needlestick injury or other blood exposure. It is important to discuss the need for PEP with a health care provider trained in using anti-HIV drugs, or with clinical staff at a hospital Emergency Department. Together, you can determine your risk of acquiring HIV and decide whether you should take PEP. If you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are breastfeeding, discuss this with your health care provider before starting PEP.
What is involved in taking PEP?
PEP involves taking a 2 or 3 drug combination once or twice daily for four weeks. The drugs need to be taken at certain times of the day and may need to be taken with food. It is very important not to miss any doses of PEP to give it the best chance of working. If seen at an Emergency Department or Canberra Afterhours Locum Medical Service (CALMS), you will be given a starter pack so you can commence PEP immediately. This pack only has enough pills for a few days. To continue PEP, you will be referred to a doctor or sexual health centre for a script for ongoing supply.
Does PEP have side effects?
Yes. Taking drugs used in PEP can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, headaches, tiredness and a rash. Rarely, more serious side effects have been reported. You should discuss the possible side effects and how to manage them with your health care provider.
Will I need blood tests?
If you decide to take PEP, “baseline” blood tests will be done to check your current status for HIV, hepatitis B and C. Tests for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may also be recommended, either when you are prescribed PEP, or at your follow up visits.
Does PEP work?
Studies done with health care workers show that their risk of becoming HIV positive after a needlestick injury is significantly reduced by using PEP. These studies suggest that it is also possible to reduce the risk of getting HIV by prompt use of PEP after possible sexual or injecting exposure. PEP will NOT COMPLETELY ELIMINATE this risk.
Do I still need follow up after completing PEP?
Yes, follow-up is very important. If you take PEP, blood tests for HIV are repeated at these times after the exposure: at 6 weeks at 3 months
What else do I need to know while taking PEP?
- PEP is not guaranteed to stop you from being infected with HIV and it is not a replacement for safe sex and safe injecting practices
- Taking PEP will not make you immune to HIV
- Women should use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy whilst on PEP
- HIV testing will need to be repeated at 3 months after you commence PEP. This is called the window period (the time it can take for HIV to show up in tests). You need to protect others during the 3 month window period by using condoms, and not sharing injecting equipment
- Do not donate blood, sperm, organs or tissue while on PEP and within the 3 month window period
- If you miss a tablet, take the dose as soon as you remember and seek advice by calling Canberra Sexual Health Centre or the PEP Hotline as to how you should continue to take the drugs
References: Australasian Society for HIV Medicine. Post Exposure Prophylaxis after Non-Occupational and Occupational Exposure to HIV National Guidelines. Accessed ashm.org.au ￼￼￼￼
Please Note: This information page is designed to provide you with general information only. It is not intended to replace the need for a consultation with a health practitioner. You are advised to enquire about any specific questions or concerns you may have with a health practitioner. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct at the time of publishing.
Late last year the proud and prominent American Horror Story star Zachary Quinto voiced concern for gay men in Out Magazine claiming they had fallen into a complacent pattern of "laziness" when it came to safe-sex...