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.

Hilary Caldwell from UNSW presented qualitative research that utilised thematic analysis to interpret data from 17 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with sex workers who have female clientele. The participants were self-selecting volunteers who were sourced through their organisations and via Facebook. The participants were from varied backgrounds, genders and geographical locations. The data gathered demonstrated the demographic diversity of female clientele who utilised the services of the surveyed sex workers. According to the workers, female clientele had varied income levels, ethnicities and ages. The female clientele shared similar motivations for seeking these services as male clientele. Motivation was often focused on the women’s safety, the discretion of the professional and the desire to utilise the services of a “sexpert.” The surveyed sex workers made note of the ways in which women buy sex, noting the importance of mitigating risk. Most women counteract this risk by utilising agencies rather than brothels, seeing private sex workers, buying erotic massages and using referrals from other women who buy sex. Making note of the behaviour of their female clientele, the sex workers mentioned that the women were less likely to push the boundaries of the sex worker or haggle for discounts, but were more likely to bring up consent and “check in” with the sex worker during a session. Interestingly, this is the only empirical evidence of its kind in Australia. As the market increases for women buying sex in Australia, it will be interesting to see how the research keeps up with this burgeoning trend.

Thursday morning Lisa Fitzgerald presented a memorable overview of patients living with HIV. She outlined the importance of biomedical information, however also stated that real life complexities are sometimes marginalized. 

Living with HIV as a disease is difficult enough, but for those people in the community that have no social or familial support those issues are emphasized. 

I have learned a lot about HIV as an illness, however understanding the linkages beyond the treatment cascade into the day to day social lives have been highlighted again. 

A great reminder to clinicians that a patient is at the heart of these illnesses we all learn about. Thanks Lisa! 

Presentation of PraveenaGunaratnam

Data  from the National HIV Registry

Period 2005 to 2015

Reduced representation of plwha from Sub Saharan Africa, 30/100,000 in 2010,15/100,000 in 2014

Increasing representation from  nth Asia, 2/100,000 in2005, 7/100,000 in2014

Increase in Asian born MSM hiv rate from 6 to 15 % of the total in the 10 year period,43 % overseas born  MSM with hiv born in Asia.

Sub Saharan Africans and South East Asians still have high rates of late and advanced diagnosis app 50%.


Need to reduce barriers to health care access

Evaluate interventions tailored towards different communities, specially with respect to TasP, prep

Continue to gain epidemiological and behavioural research and monitor changes in HIV related practices, health outcomes and prevalence

322 men

Most likely, in order: gay friends, straight friends, casual partners, immediate family, work colleagues, other family.

52% disclose within 6 months of diagnosis.

Younger were more likely to disclose to immediate family, but not gay friends or casual partners.

More contact with people who had died of AIDS were more likely to disclose their status.

Support from peers was associated with more likely to disclose their status.

Peer support was the only factor associated with employing methods to alter sexual behaviour to prevent onward transmission.

Peer support was the only factor associated with likelihood of disclosure across the board.

This session on Wednesday morning was entertaining and informative. 

It outlined that health promotion is imperitive and very effective in the music/concert arena, sporting events as well as online via dating sites and various other informative websites. Great results have come from increasing accessibility and anonymity of access to both education and screening tools. 

The importance of clinicians and educators utilising an 'as required' method of health promotion and screening programs rather than a blanket, one size sits all approach was emphasized.

Very interesting to hear about various communities and audiences success rates with their various approaches. 

Thank you to all of the passionate presenters! 


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