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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.
The Peer experience so far.
Brent Clifton is the Manager of Gay Men’s Sexual Health Programs. He has taken us to the journey of PrEP implementation. They developed 2 models: Nurse led, and Peer led.
He described how on the early days, PrEP medications can be accessed through import from doctors and from reputable medical sites
That all changed on December 2015, when then Health Minister Jillian Skinner announced a landmark clinical trial on PrEP in NSW named Epic NSW ("Expanded PrEP Implementation in Communities"). A proposal was then sent from ACON to: support the implementation and rollout of the Epic-NSW Study; lead the education and increase community awareness of PrEP. These proposals included a PrEP mailing list, a full-time staff position to lead the community education of PrEP, holding community forums (9 in total were held), community awareness during Mardi Gras Festival and the development of the campaign “Is PrEP right for You?”
They have 2 clinical partners RPA Sexual Health and SSHC. Both centres deliver Nurse and Peer led programs. One of the key services offered was dispensing of PrEP medications on site. This program saw a substantial increase in enrolment within a month.
Some of the peer experiences they had were feeling less anxious about sex, what will be the possible side effects? they had more conversation about STI, undetectable viral load and some comments like “I’m not high risk enough but still want PrEP.
Some of the take home notes are If we have enough support and education on marginalized population we will be able to eliminate HIV. The availability of PrEP is very crucial in HIV elimination.