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Heads together: We can transform the region

Heads together: We can transform the region - an evening panel

Join Heads together: We can transform the region, NAPWHA’s evening discussion event supported by ViiV Healthcare, an associated event of the 2019 Australasian HIV Conference held in Perth 5.30pm – 7.00pm on Wednesday, 18 September 2019.

The presentations and panel discussion will bring together experts including community representatives, clinicians and researchers who are involved in the HIV response in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Timor Leste to identify current problems and issues and to investigate solutions.

The HIV epidemic in PNG is of significant concern due to high levels of HIV drug resistance, challenges in the delivery and supply chain for antiretroviral therapies as well as a range of systemic problems around health service delivery. In Timor Leste, currently there is a low reported prevalence of HIV, however country reports indicate increasing notifications of sexually transmissible infections. A recent report on HIV stigma and discrimination in Timor Leste has shown serious problems occurring in the delivery of HIV services and the way in which people living with HIV (PLHIV) are being treated.

In joining the evening panel, attendees can:

  • Gain an understanding, from people who can influence the system, of the issues facing PLHIV and those delivering health services to PLHIV in PNG and Timor Leste
  • Understand how effective models of collaboration between community, clinicians and industry can work in countries where there are limited resources or structural health system challenges
  • Be able to identify those components which assist in strengthening the HIV response in PNG and Timor Leste
Heads together: We can transform the region - evening panel
Hear presentations from:
  • John Rule (Senior Research Manager, NAPWHA; Panel Co-chair)  |  See John Rule’s Powerpoint Presentation
  • Arun Menon (ASHM Clinical Advisor; Clinical Director, Townsville Sexual Health Service)  |  See Arun Menon’s Powerpoint Presentation
  • Nick Mawe Dala (Director, National AIDS Council Secretariat)
  • Vikas Parwani (Solicitor, HIV/AIDS Legal Centre)
  • Janet Sangopa (President, Igat Hope Inc.)  |  See Janet Sangopa’s Powerpoint Presentation
  • Sheena Viegas (HIV Specialist, ASHM)
  • Chad Hughes (Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination, Burnet Institute)
  • John Kaldor (Program Head, Public Health Interventions Research Group, The Kirby Institute, UNSW)
  • Darryl O’Donnell (CEO, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations)

Registration to this free event is essential. To register your place at this session please email:  conference@ashm.org.au

Other HIVAUS19 Conference-related highlights
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Not Guilty: Living with HIV and the law

Join ‘Not Guilty: Living with HIV and the law’, NAPWHA’s breakfast panel supported by Gilead Sciences, an associated event of the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth, 6.30am – 8.30am on Thursday 19 September 2019. This breakfast discussion provides an opportunity for multi-disciplinary delegates to hear and gain insight and current information from leaders in the field working in the field of HIV criminalisation in Australia and the region. Evidence shows criminalisation does not reduce HIV transmission, and the resulting stigma and discrimination build higher barriers to effective health promotion. Current laws in certain Australian jurisdictions and in the region counteract the promotion of effective prevention and shared responsibility, and the uptake of HIV testing and treatment, and therefore undermine effective public health. In joining the breakfast panel, attendees can:

  • Gain an understanding, from people who can influence the system, of the problematic nature of HIV criminalisation, in particular the negative impact on health outcomes for HIV positive people
  • Understand what the different approaches to HIV transmission reduction are in Policing and Justice and in Health and how these two are at odds with each other.
  • Gain an understanding of the reasons behind these differences
  • Be able to identify how the law plays into stigma and what the impact of this on people living with HIV (PLHIV)

Pictured L-R: Paul Kidd, Robert Mitchell (NAPWHA Board Director), Sally Cameron, Aaron Cogle, Edwin J Bernard, as part of the panel, also including Lisa Bastian and Jules Kim on issues concerning HIV decriminalisation.

Hear from the panel of experts:

Registration to this free event is essential. A complimentary buffet breakfast will be provided. Capacity is limited to 80 people. PLHIV will be prioritised places to this event at the discretion of NAPWHA. To register your place at this session by email:  conference@ashm.org.au

Other HIVAUS19 Conference-related highlights

Let Women Talk — Sarah Feagan & Deborah Bateson

In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Dr Deborah Bateson — Medical Director at Family Planning New South Wales, who presented at the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September, about contraception, choice and women living with HIV. In this video, Deborah mentions that while all contraceptive methods are potentially suitable for women with HIV, that its important for clinicians to be informed of potential antiretroviral (ART) drug interactions in order to support informed decision-making for their patients. Sarah and Deborah also make mention of the contraceptive injection (sold as Depo-Provera® or Depo-Ralovera® in Australia) and also another injectable which may be on the Australian market soon (see: Sayana Press). In terms of a male contraceptive option that is in the pipeline for Australian consumers, but still far from approval, Vasalgel, a long-term reversible contraceptive gel injected, has been in the works since 2010.

About the presentation

Women living with HIV who wish to plan or avoid a pregnancy require information about all methods of contraception and should be supported in making an informed choice about the method that best suits their individual needs. Considerations that are common to all individuals such as desire for non-contraceptive benefits for acne or menstrual symptoms, the need for discretion, religious beliefs, costs and personal preference remain relevant.

However, in relation to HIV, specific consideration needs to be given to the effect of the contraceptive method on disease progression and transmission, antiretroviral drug interactions, the presence of other chronic medical conditions and the need for protection from other sexually transmissible infections (STI). The presentation provided an overview of the current (and future) contraceptive options recommended for women living with HIV in order to support informed decision-making.

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?

Deborah Bateson is the Medical Director at Family Planning New South Wales. She has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University (MA Oxon), a Masters degree in Human Nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a medical degree from the University of Hong Kong. Deborah was Chair then Co-chair of the Australasian Sexual Health Alliance from 2015 to 2017.

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 & 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.