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.

Danielle Spinks

Danielle Spinks

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Sign the Melbourne Declaration


In 2011, Australia signed the United Nations 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS that sets 'bold new targets' for HIV/AIDS to 2015. Signatory countries agreed on the following 'strong, time-bound' targets by 2015:

▪   Advance efforts towards reducing sexual transmission of HIV by 50%

▪   Reducing HIV infection among people who inject drugs by 50%

▪   Push towards eliminating new HIV infections among children

▪   Increase the number of people on life-saving treatments to 15 million globally

▪   Reduce tuberculosis relation deaths in people living with HIV by half

The UN Declaration highlights action areas for improving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Public access to sexual and reproductive health services, particularly for women and children, are a cornerstone of 'working towards a world without AIDS'.

HIV in Australia

It's a given that Australia is better placed than many countries to meet these targets. And there is no better time to take action. Australia's HIV rates increased by 8% in 2011 and campaigners are saying that Australia have 'dropped the ball' on HIV/AIDS research and funding in recent times. 

In 2013, 1,236 people were diagnosed with HIV, similar to levels in 2012. For more information and a snapshot of HIV in Australia, the AFAO website features a short summary HIV in Australia Statistics Update 2013.

Despite some progress being made over the last 18 months, barriers to tackling rising infection rates remain. These include a lack of access to rapid HIV tests licensed for use in Australia, prohibitive treatment costs and unhelpful restrictions on people with HIV and their medical teams deciding when to start treatment.

The Melbourne Declaration

To strengthen the United Nations goals and reduce HIV infection rates in Australia, the Melbourne Declaration was launched in October 2012.

Action areas in the Melbourne Declaration include:

▪   Making rapid testing widely available in clinical and community settings

▪   Enhancing access to and uptake of antiretroviral treatment for HIV

▪   Making HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis available to people who at high risk of HIV infection

▪   Fast tracking treatment licensure and funding

▪   Mobilising and informing people with HIV, and in populations at high risk of HIV, about advances in treatment and prevention

▪   Support ongoing, high quality HIV research.

With the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne comes renewed calls for action, leadership and commitment to get Australia back on track, and to help meet UN targets by 2015.

Show your Support.  Sign the Melbourne Declaration today!

You can follow the proceedings of the International AIDS Conference 2014 from the 20-25th July 2014 on Twitter using the hashtag #AIDS2014

Watch out for tweets from the #AIDS2014 Conference:








Further Reading

Bold new AIDS targets set by world leaders for 2015 

Melbourne Declaration Update 

HIV in Australia Statistics Update 2013




Tagged in: AIDS 2014 IAS2014

Early Monday morning, New Zealand TV viewers woke up to Dr Ben Cowie, highlighting the importance of hepatitis B testing. 

Ben was interviewed on New Zealand national station, TV3. The interview provided an opportunity to flag the Auckland Statement, which calls for urgent action to prevent new infections and stop the rising death toll caused by both HCV & HBV. 

View Dr Ben Cowie's interview, read the press releases relating to his presentations at the Conference, and sign the Auckland Statement

Tagged in: VH2012

Posted by on in Workforce Development

We first met Yvonne Drazic at the 2010 Viral Hepatitis conference, where she bravely presented her personal story of living with chronic hepatitis B.

It's wonderful to see Yvonne back again, now presenting on her current HBV research project (for which she's received an ASHM Junior Researcher Award). Yvonne's personal experience has been a major driver in her efforts to improve HBV awareness and care in primary care.

Yvonne's research project is an exploration of current awareness and practice in primary care in north QLD. Whilst recruitment of GPs into the project has proved a challenge (with Yvonne trying every trick in the book), initial results have shown we have a long way to go. Less than 50% of GPs surveyed would test Asian migrants for HBV and less than 30% would test Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. When asked about their preference for education, the most preferred option was evening dinner updates with a surprisingly lack of appeal for videos...

Congratulations Yvonne - we look forward to hearing more.

Tagged in: VH2012

this is just a test... please ignore this.

Tagged in: VH2012
Twitter response: "Could not authenticate you."