ASHM Report Back

Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.

Ruth Casey

Ruth Casey

After completing my hospital training in 1985, I spent a year working in general and then went straight onto midwifery. I felt I had found my calling and spent the next 25 years working as a midwife in public and private hospitals and several years as an Independent Practicing Midwife assisting women having homebirths. Eventually I decided I wanted a change and took on a traineeship as a Sexual Health and Reproductive Nurse. This eventually led to completing a Masters in Nursing Science (Nurse Practitioner) and saw an expansion in my role. Currently I am case manager for people living with HIV and hepatitis C, complex sexual and reproductive health issues, contraceptive requirements and as of May 2017 will commence prescribing treatment ART for hepatitis C. I am also principal lead for the 4 year QPrEPd trial, an Australian initiative whereby any eligible person at risk of contracting HIV can participate and receive 4 years of PrEP for a return of sharing their experience of real life use of PrEP.

Dr Marcos Davi G. Sousa Specialist in Infectology, Federal Hospital of the Servants of the State of Rio de Janeiro presented a case history of a male, unfortunately he didn't state how long the patient had been HIV +.

* 51 years of age

* COPD

* alcohol dependant 

* very poor ARVT compliance

He had previously been treated for Tuberculosis, mycobacterium kansasii and mycobacterium avium, but continued to experience poor health, and poor compliance on ARVT.

He was tested and treated for M. intracellulare in Jan 2015, then tested positive for "atypical mycobacteria" in Sep. 2015.

In Nov 2015 a positive culture identified M. colombiense, the first isolate of this species in Brazil. It is a slow growing  type of  mycobacterium that infects both immunocompetent and immunocompromised people and was first isolated in Bogota, Columbia in 2006. Importantly, infection can mimic tuberculosis.

Treatment provided was the same for tuberculosis and should have continued for one year after the last negative test, but the patient continued to be non compliant with treatment and apppointments. Resistance testing was not yet available, and the outcome for the patient was not presented. 

 

My focus today was on Mycoplasma Genitalium as it has been a topic of many discussions recently. 

Several presenters discussed this topic

Dr Catriona Bradshaw, Melbourne Sexual Health

Dr Jorgen Jensen, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen

Prof. Charlotte Gaydos, John  Hopkins Centre

Dr Lisa Manhart, University of Washington 

Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) causes symptoms similar to C. Trachomatis & N. Gonorrhoea 

Sequelae in women include pelvic inflammatory disease, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth and infertility. 

Diagnosis is limited to NAAT as culture lacks sensitivity and takes a long time. It is however recommended that NAAT testing should include resistance assay.

First line treatment regimes have included azithromycin and doxycycline, individually or in varying combinations, but doxycycline has a low efficacy rate and macrolide resistance has developed after 20 years use of azithromycin for other STI's. 

Moxifloxacin has been used as second line treatment but the past 10 years has seen emerging failure rates in some countries with rates as high as 15% in Asia-Pacific regions. Recent warnings from FDA and Europe, high cost and side effects make this option unpopular.

Funding for testing and trials of new classes of antmicrobials include

* solithromycin

* lefamulin

* diafloxacin

* zoliflodacin

* gepotidasin

The emergence of dual class resistance to both macrolides and  quinolones means there is no highly effective class of antimicrobials currently available to treat  MG. 

Prof. Basil Donovan from the Kirby Institute Sydney in his discussion of treatment of chlamydia, advocates for alternatives to azithromycin. This concerns me, as my experience in a sexual health clinic is that poor compliance is a major factor for using single dose treatments. I hope that new antimicrobial treatments will include single dose. 

 

The day started with a presentation from Prof. Jeanne Marrozzo, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Key points - 

* colonisation of a newborns gut is dependant on the type of birth

       ^ Caesarian births result in the newborns gut being colonised with skin flora eg staph aureus

       ^  Vaginal birth results in the newborns gut being colonised with healthy lactobacillus     

       ^ With the high rates of Caesarian births in developed countries, the practice of introducing the mothers           vaginal secretions into the mouth and nose of the caesarian born neonate may need to be seriously considered.

* Women with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) have a 60% higher risk  contracting HIV through vaginal sex

* HIV neg men whose HIV+ female partner has BV are more likely to contract HIV

* one outcome of the VOICE study revealed that women using tenofovir vaginal gel who had a lactobacillus dominant vaginal biome had a lower risk of contracting HIV, compared to those with a lactobacillus non-dominant vaginal biome.

* maintenance of a healthy vaginal environment might reduce the risk of contracting STI/HIV, further research is required to establish how this is achieved, particularly to establish the pathogen that causes BV

The afternoon continued along the vaginal microbiome theme with several presentations:-

Dr Ricardo Diaz, University of San Paulo Brazil

* Gardnerella Vaginalis reduces the levels of TDF-DF in vaginal fluid

Olimade Jarrett MD

* The presence of P. amnii and S. sanguinegens in vaginal miceobiome was associated with a 3.5 to 4-fold increase in rates of Trichomonas vaginalis infection

Charlotte Van Der Meer

* The Dutch study on Effect of intra-vaginal douching on the vaginal mucosa suggests that use of intra-vaginal douching has no effect on vaginal microbiome, but may increase the risk of developing a candida infection. 

Such an exciting area of research, where so much more knowledge is needed to reduce risks of acquiring HIV, STIs, and those pesky vaginal conditions. 

 

 

The new WHO STI Treatment Guidelines were released August 2016 after 3 years of a very complex process, this was the first update since 2003. The recommendations were mostly based on very low - low quality levels of evidence but resulted in 'Strong Recommendations' or 'Conditional Recommendations'. 

Target populations were based on the same as Australian target groups but I was surprised to see the adolescent group include 10 - 19 year olds compared to Australia's young people aged 15 - 24 year olds. 

N. Gonorrhoea 

Recommended treatment 

* 250mg ceftriaxone IMI + 1gm azithromycin oral stat

When asked why 250mg ceftriaxone IMI as opposed to 500mg ceftriaxone IMI as recommended in may developed countries including Australia, Prof Magnus Unemo explained that there were no adequate RCT to support the larger dose worked any better than the recommended. 

Also they advised a 'Strong Recommendation' for all neonate to receive prophylactic treatment for prevention of gonococcal and chlamydial ophthalmia neonatorum, a practice abandoned in Australia with no subsequent increase in occurrence of infection or childhood blindness.

C. Trachomatis

* Azithromycin or doxycycline remain the treatment of choice for CT

* Anogenital CT - treatment changed to 7/7 of doxycycline 100mg BD.                                                                       Australian STI Guidelines recommend 7/7 of doxycycline 100mg BD if asymptomatic and 21/7 if symptomatic

Prof. Nicola Low advocated that the doxycycline regime of 7/7 of treatment still cures CT as well as if not better than azithromycin even if the course is not completed in non compliant people. 

* There is no evidence that repeating or lengthening the course of treatment is any more effective. 

Syphilis

* Nothing has changed in Rx recommendations for syphilis

* There is very low quality evidence to support the recommended treatment

* Treatment is based on 70 years of successful treatment.

I enjoyed Dr Francis Ndowa's analogy that there were no RCT proving the use of parachutes when jumping out of a plane greatly improved survival over not using one, so proving benzathine penicillin successfully treated syphilis didnt require RCT. 

* There is a pending global shortage of benzathine penicillin so alternatives include

        * doxycycline, ceftriaxone and in special circumstances azithromycin 

Genital Herpes

The only change recommendation for treatment is to increase treatment of the first outbreak of genital herpes to 10 days as most first outbreaks are prolonged.