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Let Women Talk — Sarah Feagan & Mina John

In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Mina John who is a staff consultant in a large HIV service provided by the Department of Immunology at Royal Perth Hospital where 32% of the program’s clients are women. She presented at the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September about HIV infection in women.

About the presentation

One of the topics which Mina presented spoke of disproportionate HIV burden among young women globally. In Western Australia, although HIV notifications have fallen since 2016, there is a relative increase in new HIV diagnoses in females, with higher proportions in this number of women who were born overseas, or women acquiring HIV overseas. Also, why are females are more likely to acquire HIV with fewer sex partners versus males? Some of the factors are biological — meaning that there is a higher risk of HIV infection per sexual exposure for females compared to males. For example, due to the large cervical–vaginal mucosal surface area, semen can stay in the vagina for up to 3 days; and microabrasions can occur during coitus that allow an entry for the virus.

There are challenges and barriers for women and their retention in HIV care. In an Australian study of approximately 500 women who were surveyed across all states/territories, those barriers included transport, carer responsibilities, financial pressure, language, health beliefs and concern about stigma or disclosure.

Find out about Let Women Talk

Let Women Talk is a NAPWHA community-led health literacy initiative where HIV community advocates incorporate their rich perspectives and diverse lived HIV experiences back into strengthening community health responses — where women design and develop the health content and interventions that they want to see and hear. The initiative is one of many activities forming part of the HIV Health Literacy Framework Project, a NAPWHA project supported through the funding of ViiV Healthcare Australia.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Sarah Feagan reports back from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference aiming to translate research back into community practice.

Who’s in this interview?

Mina John is a Clinical Immunologist and Immunopathologist. She is a staff consultant in a large HIV service provided by the Department of Immunology at Royal Perth Hospital and holds a research appointment with the Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (IIID) at Murdoch University.

Sarah Feagan is a queer women who has been living with HIV since 2008. She is the previous chair of Positive Women Victoria and has recently joined the team at Living Positive Victoria as a Peer Navigator. She also the Vice President of NAPWHA. Sarah is a co-facilitator of Phoenix for Women and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDi). Sarah has unique approach to her advocacy and is inspired by the lived experience of the body positive to inform her practice. Sarah’s advocacy spans from the grass roots all the way up to high level governance. She has a global outlook with a local focus to bringing the community along with her.

Let Women Talk — Sarah Feagan & Janet Gare

In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Janet Gare who is the first woman from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) to obtain a PhD for her research into HIV drug resistance in the PNG Highlands. Sarah and Janet speak about the context of HIV in PNG from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September.

More about Dr Gare’s work in PNG

Dr Gare’s four years studying at Burnet Institute on a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) scholarship were split between fieldwork in PNG and time in the laboratory in Melbourne. But her aim was always to return to her hometown of Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province. Upon returning from studies in October 2015, Dr Gare was appointed as the Laboratory Co-ordinator of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit of the PNGIMR.

It’s PNG’s principal laboratory for research into HIV and other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and syphilis. Recently, the laboratory has embarked several integrated studies aimed at understanding the epidemiology of human papilloma virus in PNG and its relationship to cervical cancer, the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in women in PNG.

“The problem of HIV and STIs is not just limited to the Eastern Highlands Province,” Dr Gare said. “In Papua New Guinea, there’s a high rate of infections among young people. In fact, PNG has the highest rate of STIs including HIV in the South Pacific, and is among the top five in the South East Asian region, so we have an important role to play to address a serious problem.”

Related links

Find out about Let Women Talk

Let Women Talk is a NAPWHA community-led health literacy initiative where HIV community advocates incorporate their rich perspectives and diverse lived HIV experiences back into strengthening community health responses — where women design and develop the health content and interventions that they want to see and hear. The initiative is one of many activities forming part of the HIV Health Literacy Framework Project, a NAPWHA project supported through the funding of ViiV Healthcare Australia.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Sarah Feagan reports back from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference aiming to translate research back into community practice.

Who’s in this interview?

Janet Gare is the first woman from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) to obtain a PhD for her research into HIV drug resistance in the PNG Highlands. She is a highly-skilled and passionate infectious disease research scientist, well-equipped with necessary skills to conduct bio-behavioral field surveys, clinical research, design laboratory experiments and monitor disease outbreaks in human population in low- and middle-income countries.

Sarah Feagan is a queer women who has been living with HIV since 2008. She is the previous chair of Positive Women Victoria and has recently joined the team at Living Positive Victoria as a Peer Navigator. She also the Vice President of NAPWHA. Sarah is a co-facilitator of Phoenix for Women and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDi). Sarah has unique approach to her advocacy and is inspired by the lived experience of the body positive to inform her practice. Sarah’s advocacy spans the from the grass roots all the way up to high level governance. She has a global outlook with a local focus to bringing the community along with her.

Let Women Talk — Sarah Feagan & Jenny Hoy

In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Professor Jennifer (Jenny) Hoy — Director of HIV Medicine at The Alfred in Melbourne, Victoria, who presented at the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September. Professor Hoy presented research findings from a clinical study which showed that switching from tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) to raltegravir (RAL) is not associated with weight gain over 96 weeks.

About the presentation

Integrase inhibitor (INSTI)-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been associated with unexplained weight gain. Minimal information has been presented regarding a switch to raltegravir-based ART in patients with an undetectable viral load.  Professor Hoy is a co-investigator in a clinical research of 37 HIV-infected adults, which retrospectively evaluated serial weight data from a non-randomised study that evaluated changes in bone mineral density (BMD) over 96 weeks after switching from tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) 300mg daily to raltegravir 400mg twice daily.

Conclusions:  In this virologically-suppressed population, switching from TDF to raltegravir 400mg twice daily resulted in an increase in bone mineral density without a change in weight. Weight change after baseline mainly reflected regression to the mean. Weight gain may not occur with switch to INSTI-ART in virologically suppressed individuals, and may not be associated with all INSTIs.

Related links

Find out about Let Women Talk

Let Women Talk is a NAPWHA community-led health literacy initiative where HIV community advocates incorporate their rich perspectives and diverse lived HIV experiences back into strengthening community health responses — where women design and develop the health content and interventions that they want to see and hear. The initiative is one of many activities forming part of the HIV Health Literacy Framework Project, a NAPWHA project supported through the funding of ViiV Healthcare Australia.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Sarah Feagan reports back from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference aiming to translate research back into community practice.

Who’s in this interview?

Jennifer Hoy is the Director of HIV Medicine at The Alfred in Melbourne, Victoria. has over 30 years’ experience in HIV clinical research and patient care, and established the Clinical Research Unit at The Alfred. Prior to this, she established and directed the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit from 1988-2008, building it into an internationally recognised research program. Professor Hoy has been co-principal investigator on five large studies investigating ARV therapy and bone loss, including the SMART (Strategies for Management of Antiretroviral Therapy) study and START (Strategic Timing of Antiretroviral Treatment) study on which she was the Principal Investigator for Australia.

Sarah Feagan is a queer women who has been living with HIV since 2008. She is the previous chair of Positive Women Victoria and has recently joined the team at Living Positive Victoria as a Peer Navigator. She also the Vice President of NAPWHA. Sarah is a co-facilitator of Phoenix for Women and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDi). Sarah has unique approach to her advocacy and is inspired by the lived experience of the body positive to inform her practice. Sarah’s advocacy spans the from the grass roots all the way up to high level governance. She has a global outlook with a local focus to bringing the community along with her.

Let Women Talk — Sarah Feagan & Diane Lloyd

In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Diane Lloyd — who has worked passionately in several roles for different organisations, as an HIV activist and advocate; and as a Community Development Worker at Peer Based Harm Reduction WA. Her presentation at the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September, led with the title: Women and HIV: Why are women still invisible?

About the presentation

In her presentation, Diane references the National Network of Women Living with HIV, known as Femfatales, who are an advisory group by and for women living with HIV. The group are constituted to provide collaboration between those involved in policy and advocacy work for women living with HIV in Australia.

On 9 March 2020, Femfatales will be marking the third year of the National Day of Women Living with HIV in Australia with the theme no women left behind. This awareness raising day was created by Femfatales: “The more we talk about women and HIV and encourage women to be tested, we then can help raise awareness that support women living with and affected by HIV.”

Related links

Find out about Let Women Talk

Let Women Talk is a NAPWHA community-led health literacy initiative where HIV community advocates incorporate their rich perspectives and diverse lived HIV experiences back into strengthening community health responses — where women design and develop the health content and interventions that they want to see and hear. The initiative is one of many activities forming part of the HIV Health Literacy Framework Project, a NAPWHA project supported through the funding of ViiV Healthcare Australia.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Sarah Feagan reports back from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference aiming to translate research back into community practice.

Who’s in this interview?

Diagnosed with HIV since 1986, Diane Lloyd has been passionately involved with several organisations. She is a NAPWHA Board Director, member of the Femfatales, Vice Chair of the Positive Organisation Western Australia. Diane is currently employed by Peer Based Harm Reduction WA as Community Worker and a weekly shift on the needle exchange. As clients utilise the service she is able to educate on harm reduction and blood-borne viruses, often sharing her personal experience. Diane has been open about her status since the beginning, being proactive and dedicating her time as an activist. She is open in the community and is feels fortunate to be within an understanding workplace that allows her time to attend meetings relating to HIV.

Sarah Feagan is a queer women who has been living with HIV since 2008. She is the previous chair of Positive Women Victoria and has recently joined the team at Living Positive Victoria as a Peer Navigator. She also the Vice President of NAPWHA. Sarah is a co-facilitator of Phoenix for Women and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDi). Sarah has unique approach to her advocacy and is inspired by the lived experience of the body positive to inform her practice. Sarah’s advocacy spans the from the grass roots all the way up to high level governance. She has a global outlook with a local focus to bringing the community along with her.

Let Women Talk — Sarah Feagan & Kali Kanivale 

In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Kali Kanivale — Policy Officer at Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, who presented at the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September. She spoke about advocating for human rights and the decriminalisation of sex work, which would have a great effect on the course of HIV epidemic across all settings by averting HIV infections.

About the presentation

With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. These social, legal, and economic injustices contribute to their high risk of acquiring HIV. Often driven underground by fear, sex workers encounter or face the direct risk of violence and abuse daily. Sex workers remain underserved by the global HIV response.

The Lancet Series set out key markers for potential progress in human rights and HIV response, suggesting that effects on violence, safety of work environments, and sexual risks after the decriminalisation of sex work had the potential to avert 33–46% of HIV infections in sex work over the next decade.

Related links

Find out about Let Women Talk

Let Women Talk is a NAPWHA community-led health literacy initiative where HIV community advocates incorporate their rich perspectives and diverse lived HIV experiences back into strengthening community health responses — where women design and develop the health content and interventions that they want to see and hear. The initiative is one of many activities forming part of the HIV Health Literacy Framework Project, a NAPWHA project supported through the funding of ViiV Healthcare Australia.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Sarah Feagan reports back from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference aiming to translate research back into community practice.

Who’s in this interview?

Kali Kanivale is the Policy Officer at Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, a peak organisation that works towards sex worker rights (legal, health, industrial, civil) and uses health promotion approaches to achieve this. Scarlet Alliance promotes best practices including peer education, community development, community engagement and advocacy.

Sarah Feagan is a queer women who has been living with HIV since 2008. She is the previous chair of Positive Women Victoria and has recently joined the team at Living Positive Victoria as a Peer Navigator. She also the Vice President of NAPWHA. Sarah is a co-facilitator of Phoenix for Women and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDi). Sarah has unique approach to her advocacy and is inspired by the lived experience of the body positive to inform her practice. Sarah’s advocacy spans the from the grass roots all the way up to high level governance. She has a global outlook with a local focus to bringing the community along with her.

Let Women Talk — Sarah Feagan & Kirsty Machon

In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Kirsty Machon — Executive Officer of Positive Women Victoria, at the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September.

About Positive Women Victoria

Positive Women Victoria (PWV) is the only community based organisation specifically funded to support women living with HIV in Australia and was established by and for women living with HIV. PWV provides support, information and advocacy for women in Victoria living with HIV. For over thirty years PWV has responded to the changing needs of women living with HIV, recognising the impact gender has on the way women experience HIV and addressing the specific needs and emerging issues that affect women living with HIV in Victoria.

Find out about Let Women Talk

Let Women Talk is a NAPWHA community-led health literacy initiative where HIV community advocates incorporate their rich perspectives and diverse lived HIV experiences back into strengthening community health responses — where women design and develop the health content and interventions that they want to see and hear. The initiative is one of many activities forming part of the HIV Health Literacy Framework Project, a NAPWHA project supported through the funding of ViiV Healthcare Australia.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Sarah Feagan reports back from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference aiming to translate research back into community practice.

Who’s in this interview?

Kirsty Machon has been involved with HIV-related journalism, advocacy and policy development for over 20 years, after first becoming involved in the HIV area as an activist and writer in the early 1990s. She has worked for organisations including AFAO and NAPWHA, representing NAPWHA extensively in her role as HIV Health and Treatments Policy Analyst, with organisations including the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (now The Kirby Institute, UNSW), the International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials (INSIGHT), and on the Consumers Health Forum governance committee. She is also a former editor of Positive Living and the National AIDS Bulletin. Kirsty’s principal interests at NAPWHA included the ethics of clinical research, facilitating treatments access, and advocating for the reproductive rights of women and men living with HIV. She has contributed to a professional monograph on the human rights and policy dimensions of this topic.

Sarah Feagan is a queer women who has been living with HIV since 2008. She is the previous chair of Positive Women Victoria and has recently joined the team at Living Positive Victoria as a Peer Navigator. She also the Vice President of NAPWHA. Sarah is a co-facilitator of Phoenix for Women and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDi). Sarah has unique approach to her advocacy and is inspired by the lived experience of the body positive to inform her practice. Sarah’s advocacy spans the from the grass roots all the way up to high level governance. She has a global outlook with a local focus to bringing the community along with her.