Highlights from the Virtual Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference 2021

Mon 6 — Fri 10 September 2021

The complete program for the joint virtual Australasian Sexual Health and HIV&AIDS Conference #HIVAIDS2021 & #SH2021 has a large variety of live and on-demand full program online. NAPWHA has compiled a selective list of program highlights that may be of interest for our communities below.

Tues 7 Sep (9:30am) Plenary Speaker highlight: David Caron

David CaronWhat Do I Know? What Can I say? What Should I Do? (40 Years with AIDS) – David Caron, Professor of French and Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Michigan USA

David Caron is Professor of French and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan and a Guggenheim Fellow. He is the author of AIDS in French Culture: Social Ills, Literary Cures (Wisconsin, 2001) and My Father and I: The Marais and the Queerness of Community (Cornell, 2009). He has also co-edited a volume of essays on Charlotte Delbo, Les revenantes (Le Mirail, 2011). His latest book, entitled The Nearness of Others: Searching for Tact and Contact in the Age of HIV (Minnesota, 2014), offers a personal look at the experience, meanings, and politics of HIV disclosure. He is currently at work on a book on the poetics of personhood in contemporary queer cinema from Asia, Europe, and the Americas.


On-demand abstract program

#139 – Mutually reinforced concerns about long-term use of Antiretroviral Treatment by PLHIV in Australia presented by Brent Allan (Qthink)

Background:  Positive Perspectives 2 (PP2) is an international survey of people living with HIV (PLHIV) across 25 countries (N=2,389 global, N=120 Australia) run by ViiV Healthcare which aimed to generate insights into unmet needs of PLHIV with respect to indicators of health related quality of life (QoL) and included attitudes to daily antiretroviral (ART) usage. HIV Futures 9 (HF9) is a cross sectional survey of Australian PLHIV (N=847) run by La Trobe University which aimed to better
understand factors affecting QoL including the impact of daily ART.

Tues 7 Sep (1pm) – What is it going to take to end stigma?

This is an interactive panel discussion with Australian stakeholders about working together to address the ongoing challenge of stigma and HIV. The panel will explore their own experiences and learning and share some examples of best practise.

Co-chairs:  Steven Spencer (NAPWHA) & Christy Newman
Speakers and Q&A panelists:  Carla Treloar (CSRH, UNSW Syd), Karl Schmid (ABC America reporter and founder of +Life), Karl Johnson (ACON), Aaron Cogle (NAPWHA), Jessica Michaels (ASHM), Jules Kim (Scarlett Alliance)

Video below:  ACON’s latest campaign, It’s Time to Think Positive About HIV, showcases the kind of allyship that can end stigma, through the reflections and connections between people living with HIV and their HIV negative allies.



Tues 7 Sep (2pm) – The HIV and sexual health needs of bi+ people

In this exciting pioneering session – a first-ever bi+ community-led session – Eloise Montiero presents an Introduction and the unique experiences of bi+ people in HIV and sexual health; and Jennifer Power speaks on Bisexual men living with HIV: wellbeing, connectedness and the impact of stigma.

Co-chairs:  Steven Spencer (NAPWHA) & Christy Newman
Speakers:  Eloise Monteiro (NAPWHA), Benjamin Bavinton (Kirby Institute, UNSW), Jennifer Power (ARCSHS, La Trobe University), Ruby Grant (University Of Tasmania), Brian Feinstein (Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science)
Panel Discussants:  bi+ community members with diverse experience, including Sarah Feagan (NAPWHA)


Tues 7 Sep (4pm) – Rethinking women and HIV: New paradigms for prevention and care

In this session – community member, Rita Broughton brings Perspectives from women living with HIV; Heather Mugwagwa delivers an abstract on #Missing Voices: Building HIV positive women’s meaningful engagement with HIV clinical and cure research. Speakers from Kirby Institute present on an exciting project: “It was like my body was dancing through the pencils:” Meditative process art with women living with HIV in Australia.

Co-chairs:  Sarah Feagan (NAPWHA) and Eloise Monteiro (NAPWHA)
Speakers:  Kirsty Machon (Positive Women Victoria), Heather Mugwagwa (Positive Women Victoria), Alison Carter and Patricia Morgan (Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney), Jane Costello (Kirby Institute; Positive Life NSW)

Tues 7 Sep (4pm) – Strengths-based approaches to HIV prevention, care and support for gay, bisexual and queer-identifying men

In this session – Tim Kruilic (Living Positive Victoria; LaTrobe University) presents on Peer support for People Living with HIV from a strengths-based perspective; Karl Johnson (ACON) speaks on Thinking positively about HIV. Phillip Keen (Kirby Institute) presents on Factors associated with PrEP uptake and prevention of HIV among men in NSW..

Co-chairs:  Jeanne Ellard (AFAO) and Dean Murphy (Kirby Institute)
Other Speakers:  Matthew Vaughan (ACON), Denton Callander (Columbia University Spatial Epidemiology Lab), Ingrid Young (University of Edinburgh)

Tues 7 Sep (6pm) – HIV, Migration and Mobility: Legal Barriers and Support Needs

This session includes legal and clinical presentations on supporting people living with HIV in migration. Including Jimmy Yu-Hsiang Chen The experience of migrating to Australia for a person living with HIV; Alexandra Stratigos presents on How to migrate to Australia for someone living with HIV.

Co-chairs:  Kate Bath (ASHM) and Benjamin Riley (ASHM)
Speakers:  Mary Crock (Sydney Law School, USyd), Alexandra Stratigos (HALC), Jimmy Yu-Hsiang Chen (NAPWHA), David Nolan (Royal Perth Hospital Department Of Immunology), Jason Ong (Melbourne Sexual Health Centre)

Tues 7 Sep (6pm) – Regulating Sex

Co-chairs:  Shelley Kerr (ASHM) & Robert Mitchell (NAPWHA)
Speakers:  Heath Paynter (AFAO), Aaron Cogle (NAPWHA), Zahra Stardust (Queensland University of Technology), Jules Kim (Scarlet Alliance)

Wed 8 Sep (11:30am) – Proffered Paper Session: Peer-based models and PLHIV

#195 Understanding the effect of COVID-19 restrictions on peer support staff and programs presented by Brent Clifton (Positive Life NSW)

Qualitative interviews with 21 HIV support program staff across Australia were conducted to identify how social distancing restrictions and working from home policies impacted service provision. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted.

#142 Measuring quality of life to inform the Australian national HIV response: Information from HIV Futures 9 presented by Dr Jennifer Powers (LaTrobe University)

HIV Futures 9 was a cross-sectional, self-reported survey of adults living
with HIV in Australia (N=847). Data were collected in 2018/2019 via a questionnaire completed online or in hardcopy which covered a range of topics including health, financial security and social connectedness. Quality of Life (QoL) was measured using the PozQol scale, a 13-item scale developed in Australia specifically to measure QoL among
PLHIV. Descriptive and bivariate analysis were used to identify factors which support QoL.

#189 Peer navigation with women and heterosexually-identifying men; overcoming isolation and building community presented by Anth McCarth and Sarah Feagan (Living Positive Victoria)

Living Positive Victoria, by employing female and heterosexual male peers, substantially increases engagement with heterosexual communities. Peers who role model dignity, self-respect and openness can inspire and offset shame and internal stigma in others. Peer navigators receive supervision and training, are client-centred and employ interpersonal skills to earn trust and respect. They respond to a diverse client group, support HIV health literacy and provide guidance through health systems. They lead carefully designed social and health promotional events to allow peers to meet, share and learn together. Community is created and strengthened. Evaluation is embedded.

#134 Community based delivery of same day PrEP (iPrEP) presented by Mark Fisher (Body Positive Inc, Auckland)

Community peer based testing is a discrete way to provide HIV testing to an audience that doesn’t engage with their regular healthcare provider. By partnering with a GP clinic an innovative approach was initiated in May 2020 which enabled peer testers at Body Positive to provide immediate access to PrEP (iPrEP) for MSM at risk for HIV as identified through inconsistent condom use with casual partners.

#190 COVID-19 vaccine acceptability among people living with HIV (PLHIV) and HIV-negative pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) users presented by Dean Murphy (Alfred Health, Melbourne)

COVID-19 vaccine acceptability in Australian PLHIV is unknown. In 2021, during Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, we surveyed PLHIV and HIV-negative pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) users to evaluate their likelihood of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine via the VAXPLORE study.

Wed 8 Sep (11:30am) – Proffered Paper Session: Clinical Management & Therapeutics

U=U: ASHM Guidance for Healthcare Professionals

#66 Supporting the healthcare workforce to stamp out scepticism about U=U: the 2020 ASHM guidance for healthcare professionals presented by Brent Allan (Qthink)

This U=U: ASHM Guidance for Healthcare Professionals  and Undetectable Roadmap Poster follows international best practice by providing a set of five recommendations for healthcare providers (HCP) to follow based upon up to date advice from other countries and international health agencies. The most critical message in this guidance is for HCP to inform their patients of this scientific knowledge: keeping their HIV viral load at an undetectable level by consistently taking HIV medications means that they will not pass HIV to others through sex.

Wed 8 Sep (2pm) – Are we on-track to achieve Quality of Life for All by 2030?

NAPWHA hosts an exciting symposium asking a vital question: ‘Are we on-track to achieve Quality of Life for all people with HIV by 2030?’

This session provides delegates with a greater understanding of the intersection of how the patient and healthcare provider relationship is linked to a high health-related quality of life and provide an opportunity for ASHM delegates to influence the development of a Community Accord on Quality of Life of PLHIV in Australia.

Hosted by:  Daniel Reeders (NAPWHA)
Speakers:  Dr Nneka Nwokolo, ViiV Healthcare and Brent Allan, Policy Advisor, ASHM, ICASO and the IAS
Panel Discussants:  Dr Jason Ong, Michael Brown, Dr Vincent Cornelisse, Abbie, Dr Catriona Ooi, Emil Canita, Dr Clara Tuck Meng

Wed 8 Sep (6pm) – ASHM launch of ‘The Optimal Scenario and Context of Care’

This session will be presented as a panel of international and domestic experts to present upon the challenges and opportunities that exist in the area of infant feeding options for people living with HIV specifically in resource-rich countries that often have conflicting advice to what is provided to people living with HIV in resource-poor settings.

Hosted by:  Brent Allan (ICASO) and Kirsty Machon (Positive Women Victoria)
Speakers:  Dr Lucy Stackpool-Moore (IAS), Jessica Whitbread, (HIV Rights Activist), Dr Michelle Gilles (Monash HIV, Monash Infectious Diseases), Heather Ellis (Positive Women Victoria)

Wed 8 Sep (6pm) – Clinical Management & Therapeutics in Transgender Health

This session will be presented as a panel of international and domestic experts to present upon the challenges and opportunities that exist in the area of infant feeding options for people living with HIV specifically in resource-rich countries that often have conflicting advice to what is provided to people living with HIV in resource-poor settings.

Co-chairs:  Dr Darren Russell (Cairns Sexual Health Service) and Teddy Cook (ACON)
Speakers:  Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo (Hobart Place General Practice), Dr Asa Radix (Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, New York), Rena Janamnuaysook (Institute of HIV Research and Innovation, Bangkok)

Thu 9 Sep (11:30am) – Selected proffered papers: Social Political & Cultural Aspects

#141 Fifty and positive: Findings from HIV futures 9 on mental health among people living with HIV aged 50 years presented by Jennifer Power (ARCSHS, La Trobe University)

Background:  The average age of the population of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia is now around 50 years. Ageing with HIV presents complexities with respect to managing ageing-related health conditions alongside HIV. However, less is known about the impact of ageing with HIV on mental health and quality of life, an issue we explore in this paper.

#82 Quality of Life for All presented by Daniel Reeders (NAPWHA)

Background:  A project developing online training modules covering ‘HIV 101‘ prompted NAPWHA to consider what key messages we would want to share with someone new to the HIV sector. Not just to orient new colleagues to established and familiar ways of working, but to prepare for the future of the Australian community-based HIV response.

Thu 9 Sep (2pm) – Selected Abstract Spotlight Session

#191 – Heard but not seen: Experiences of telehealth by people living with HIV (PLHIV) in COVID times presented by Dr Dean Murphy (Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney)

Background:  COVID-19 has brought about – or hastened – innovations in clinical care such as ‘telehealth’ (i.e. consultations conducted via video-conferencing platforms or telephone) that are likely to persist beyond the pandemic. It is therefore important to consider the ways in which the clinical encounter is changed through these innovations.

Thu 9 Sep (4pm) – Making an HIV diagnosis

This session explores the ways in which HIV diagnosis is undertaken and experienced. It will include discussion of the diagnosis encounter (and how this has changed over time), as well as data collection activities related to a new HIV diagnosis, current practices around initiation of antiretroviral therapy, and referral of newly diagnosed people into other services such as peer-based support.

Co-chairs:  Dr John Rule (NAPWHA) and Prof. Edwina Wright (Alfred Health)
Speakers: This session includes presentations including Daniel Reeders presenting on Learning modules for HIV diagnosis (see also: HIV 101); Dr Allyson Mutch presenting on HIV Peer Navigation: GPs Perspective; and Chris Howard speaking on Peer navigation: Design and implementation)Carole Khaw (Adelaide Sexual Health Centre), Dr Dean Murphy (Kirby Institute / Alfred Health), Chris Howard (Queensland Positive People)

Fri 10 Sep – COVID-19 conference day

Devils in the Details – Making sense of COVID-19 is a one-day conference, featuring thematic sessions from a range of speakers.

This inaugural, free and open to all is an opportunity for the Australasian region to hear more about emerging and unpublished science on COVID-19 and to strengthen collaboration between research groups nationally, across our region and internationally.

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