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.
Day 1: Complexities of providing prevention tools to a vulnerable population
A/Prof Darren Russell: Complexities of providing prevention tools to a vulnerable population; Lessons from an outbreak in young Indigenous people in FNQ
A look at the rise in HIV cases in Indigenous Australians in Far North QLD with more than 30 cases since 2014. This has come hot on the heels of the local syphilis outbreak in 2011, where over 1000 cases and 5 congenital syphilis cases were reported.
Darren talked about the public health and clinical response, which had to overcome barriers to treatment and engagement. The community and individual cultural and social responsibilities can mean avoidance of care that might cause shame. This is compounded by remoteness, low levels of health literacy, employment, housing, financial and substance issues. Despite being a significant at-risk group, PrEP knowledge and use is scarce.
What stood out is the importance, and the difficulty given history, of building healthy, trusting community relationships. The gap is not yet closed, but in some areas widening.