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.
Asia-specific barriers to care
This area was addressed by two speakers, these being Fujie Zhang and Martin Choo. Dr. Zhang is a medical practitioner whilst Mr. Choo is a social scientist.
Both discussed barriers to care from their respective viewpoints and whilst many barriers are common to my practice in Australia; others were alien to me. For instance, all the classes of ARV and the individual medications within those classes are not all available in China. Truvada is a single medication that isn't available. How can PrEP be rolled out if Truvada isn't available? Dr. Zhang didn't elaborate on why this was the case and I suspect the reasons are beyond the scope of this blog. He did mention that there was a need to develop new ways of delivering PrEP so as to ensure people at risk within China (and other Pacific-Asia countries) can access it.
Mr. Choo talked about barriers from a community level. He gave examples of negative experiences endured by HIV positive MSM/Transgender people which he states are not isolated instances in certain S.E. Asia cities where conservative attitudes to non-binary gender/sexuality exist. He spoke about an episode of a breach of confidentiality and made quite an interesting point around the funding of services by NGOs. The point being its all well and good providing money for services, but if there is no infrastructure built in to ensure confidentiality, breaches will happen.