Australia Signs Global Declaration to Affirm Science and Message of U=U

Australia Signs Global Declaration to Affirm Science and Message of U=U

Australia Signs Global Declaration to Affirm Science and Message of U=U

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler signs Australia up to the global declaration on U=U

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler signs Australia up to the global declaration on U=U

At a Health Equity Matters event yesterday in Sydney, Federal Health Minister Mark Butler signed Australia up to a global declaration affirming support for the science and message of Undetectable = Untransmittable, or U=U.

Australia joined Canada, the United States of America and Vietnam as signatories to date to the global declaration on a day that marked another significant milestone in the evolution of Australia’s national response to HIV.

While the Australian Government through Minister Butler endorsed the U=U message to a global audience at the 12th International AIDS Science Conference in Brisbane in 2023, signing onto the global declaration was a milestone event which confirmed that Australia takes an evidence-based approach to HIV/AIDS and supports as absolute the principles inherent in the message of U=U.

By signing onto the declaration, Australia commits to (points drawn from the declaration document):

  1. “To develop national strategies for sustainable and effective national U=U programs that are informed by the communities and individuals most impacted.
  2. To integrate U=U science into HIV guidelines and official communications.
  3. To implement policies to address inequities, decrease barriers, and increase access to treatment, care, and diagnostics.
  4. To include U=U as a mandatory component of existing HIV prevention, care, and treatment research, services, policies, and programs.
  5. To use U=U in health education and promotion efforts to generate demand and increase utilisation of testing, prevention, care, and related services.
  6. To conduct U=U awareness campaigns for key populations and the general public to decrease stigma.
  7. To improve access to and uptake of HIV treatment and viral load testing to ensure equitable access to the benefits of U=U.
  8. To recognize U=U as a primary HIV prevention method and/or adopt combination prevention strategies that prioritise prompt diagnosis, linkage to care, and treatment adherence support for people living with HIV.
  9. To train, support, and require the HIV prevention and care workforce, including clinicians, peers, and other support professionals to deliver accurate and concise U=U messages during service delivery.”

In attendance at the event to witness Minister Butler signing the declaration were Assistant Health Minister and Co-Chair of the HIV Taskforce, Ged Kearney, and Minister for the Environment and Water, and Local Member for the Federal Seat of Sydney, Tanya Plibersek.

Other attendees included representatives from ACON, the Kirby Institute, the Department of Health and Ageing, Health Equity Matters and NAPWHA. People living with HIV who were born overseas were also represented at the request of the Minister’s office to highlight the ‘Medicare ineligible’ aspects of the federal budget.

All three ministers addressed the group gathered on Level 3 of the ACON Building in Surry Hills (which is home to Health Equity Matters office). Health Equity Matters President Mark Orr also spoke and I delivered a speech for NAPWHA.

Highlights of the speeches included:

  • reference by Minister Butler to the need to deal with (State and Territory) legislation which criminalises HIV if we are to achieve virtual elimination by 2030.  Aaron’s contribution in that space through the HIV Taskforce got specific mention from the Minister and It was by far the most assertive I’ve heard him on the need to be rid of these laws, which are not science based, if we are to achieve our 2030 goal.
  • Acknowledgement by Minister Butler that HIV has served as an example which has informed the government’s approach on other issues in health. Namely, of the importance of centering affected communities in the government’s responses to those other health issues.

In my speech I noted that the HIV-positive community have been advocating the U=U message for some time, and that long before the science that people with an undetectable viral load were no risk of transmitting HIV, that people with HIV were incorporating what we knew to be true in our lives and in our practices, with our partners and lovers. But that NAPWHA’s sustained advocacy and effort on the subject paid off itself at inspiring moments such as signing of the declaration, which demonstrated what could be achieved when civil society and government worked together toward the greater good.

Scott Harlum
NAPWHA President

NAPWHA President Scott Harlum congratulates Health Minister Mark Butler

NAPWHA President Scott Harlum congratulates Health Minister Mark Butler

Treatment Outreach Network June 2023 meeting held virtually

Treatment Outreach Network June 2023 meeting held virtually

Meeting Agenda

About TON

The Treatment Outreach Network (TON) is a formal collaboration of HIV community sector professionals working to optimise the overall wellbeing of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia, by providing a high standard of information and current research on issues of health and treatments for HIV.

TON’s role is to provide consistent and up-to-date information to HIV sector professionals working at state and territory HIV community organisations as well as PLHIV. NAPWHA maintains a range of partnerships to ensure the aims of the network are met. The network meets formally once per year and informal communication occurs throughout the rest of the year to continue TON’s work.

Treatment Outreach Network 2021 meeting held virtually

NAPWHA’s Treatment Outreach Network – a membership of professionals from Australian State and Territory peer-based organisations and AIDS Councils, held their annual formal meeting via video conferencing in April and November 2021. The Treatment Outreach Network 2020 meeting was also held online during COVID-19 restrictions.

Treatment Outreach Network meeting agenda

TimeSession
11 – 11.15amAcknowledgement of Country
Brief introductions
11.15am – 12.00pm

Treatments and update from European AiDS Clinical Meeting – Presentation and Q&A
Damien Fagan – Associate Director, Medical Affairs, HIV (Gilead) NB This is not a Gilead session.

12.00 – 12.15 pmBreak / 15 minutes

12.15 – 12.45pm

 

NAPWHA Research Literacy and Treatment Initiative – Scoping session to identify research literacy needs
Dr Jeanne Ellard – NAPWHA

12.45 – 1.15pm

ARVs and weight gain – Presentation and Q&A
Professor Jennifer Hoy – Director HIV Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, The Alfred

1.15 – 1.30pmMeeting review and evaluation
1:30pmMeeting close

ARVs and weight gain

In this presentation to the Treatment Outreach Network,
Professor Jennifer Hoy – Director HIV Medicine at
Department of Infectious Diseases, The Alfred, presents a version of
What is known about weight gain on INSTI-based regimens?

In this presentation, Dr Jennifer Hoy makes references to:

  1. Michael Silverberg et al, “Changes in body mass index over time in persons with and without HIV.” 23rd International AIDS Conference. (2020) Abstract OAB0603.
  2. Myles Helfand, “Body Mass Index Among People With HIV Is Rising Much Faster Than in the General Population.” TheBody/TheBodyPro (2020)
  3. Bourgi K. et al., “Greater weight gain among treatment- naïve persons starting integrase inhibitors: NA-ACCORD.” Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (2019). Abstract #670.
  4. Hill A. et al., “Progressive rises in weight and clinical obesity… ADVANCE and NAMSAL trials.” 22nd International AIDS Conference. (2019) Abstract 4772.
  5. Mallon P. et al., “Weight gain before and after switch from TDF to TAF in a U.S. cohort study.” J Int AIDS Soc. 2021 Apr; 24(4): e25702.
  6. Ramgopal M et al. Pooled analysis of 4 international trials of bictegravir/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (B/F/TAF) in adults aged >65 or older demonstrating safety and efficacy: week 48 results. 23rd International AIDS Conference, abstract OAB0403, 2020.
  7. Liz Highleyman, “Switching to Biktarvy maintains viral suppression in people aged 65 or over.” NAM aidsmap (2020)
  8. European AIDS Clinical Society, “EACS Guidelines – Version 10.1.” (October 2020) – refer to p. 53 on Dietary Counselling and ART

Additional viewing:  Emma Sheldon-Collins, Community Advocate speaking to Dr James McMahon (The Alfred, Victoria) for the HIV ARV Guidelines Session at 2020 Australasian HIV & Sexual Health Conference

About the NAPWHA Treatment Outreach Network

The Treatment Outreach Network (TON) is a formal collaboration of HIV community sector professionals working to optimise the overall wellbeing of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia, by providing a high standard of information and current research on issues of health and treatments for HIV.

TON’s role is to provide consistent and up-to-date information to HIV sector professionals working at state and territory HIV community organisations as well as PLHIV. NAPWHA maintains a range of partnerships to ensure the aims of the network are met. The network meets formally once per year and informal communication occurs throughout the rest of the year to continue TON’s work.

Treatment Outreach Network 2022 meeting held virtually

NAPWHA’s Treatment Outreach Network – a membership of professionals from Australian State and Territory peer-based organisations and AIDS Councils, held their bi-annual formal meeting via video conferencing on May 25, 2022. The previous Treatment Outreach Network 2021 meeting was also held online, due to COVID-19 travel complications during that period.

Meeting agenda

TimeSession
11 – 11.15amAcknowledgement of Country
Brief introductions
11.15am – 12.00pmInjectable Treatments Availability in Australia – Presentation and Q&A
Jessica Kent – Associate Director, Medical Science Liaison (ViiV Healthcare Australia) NB This is not a ViiV Healthcare session.
12.00 – 12.15 pmBreak / 15 minutes
12.15 – 12.45pm NAPWHA Research Literacy and Treatment Initiative – Update session from last TON Meeting 2021– Dr Jeanne Ellard – NAPWHA
12.45 – 1.15pmNAPWHA’s Cognitive Health initiative – An international collaboration – Presentation and Q&A
Associate Professor Lucette A. Cysique, UNSW and St. Vincent’s Hospital
1.15 – 1.30pmMeeting review and evaluation
1:30pmMeeting close

Long-Acting Injectables in Australia

In this presentation to the Treatment Outreach Network, Ann Maccerrone and Jessica Kent of ViiV Healthcare Australia present an overview of emerging long-acting HIV injectable antiretroviral therapy. Charlie Tredway, Online Moderator of TIM (The Institute of Many) follows with a community perspective. The session concludes with a Q&A.

In this presentation, Jessica Kent overviews:

  1. ViiV treatment pipeline
  2. Unmet need
  3. Cabotegravir (CAB) plus Rilpivirine (RPV)
  4. Patient reported outcomes
  5. Frequently asked questions and Q&A

Other references:  See also CROI 2022: Injectable CAB/RPV-LA results after three years follow-up reported in i-base (1 March 2022)

Cognitive health for people living with HIV

In this presentation to the Treatment Outreach Network, Associate Professor Lucette A. Cysique – Senior Researcher and Neuropsychologist at
St. Vincent’s Hospital Centre for Medical Research (Sydney, NSW) presents an overview of an emerging research area for Cognitive Health for People living with HIV

In this presentation, Associate Professor Lucette A. Cysique overviews:

  1. What is cognitive health and associated guidelines
  2. Cognitive health for people living with HIV; how to talk about it
  3. Cognitive Aging: Is it HIV or simply aging? What is the evidence?
  4. Successful aging in people living with HIV
  5. Risk factors for cognitive decline and PLHIV; and how to talk about it
  6. Acting now or wait?
  7. How to get a shared understanding of issues and what to do about it: A proposed framework
  8. Proposal: Global connections, website and survey
  9. Some resources: I am experiencing cognitive difficulties; what can I do (referral pathways, etc)

Other references:  Lucette references international work stemming from the National AIDS Treatment Project and HIV & Aging Research Project – Palm Springs (HARP-PS); and an emerging project in-development with University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

About the NAPWHA Treatment Outreach Network

The Treatment Outreach Network (TON) is a formal collaboration of HIV community sector professionals working to optimise the overall wellbeing of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia, by providing a high standard of information and current research on issues of health and treatments for HIV.

TON’s role is to provide consistent and up-to-date information to HIV sector professionals working at state and territory HIV community organisations as well as PLHIV. NAPWHA maintains a range of partnerships to ensure the aims of the network are met. The network meets formally once per year and informal communication occurs throughout the rest of the year to continue TON’s work.

Information of Prezista® (darunavir) 150 mg delisting

From 1 November 2020, Prezista® (darunavir) 150 mg tablets, used in combination with other antiretroviral agents for HIV treatment, will be discontinued for supply in Australia and removed from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

This delisting may affect HIV treatment-experienced paediatric patients aged 6 years and older – where Prezista® (darunavir) 150 mg strength is typically used in combination treatment.

The pharmaceutical provider, Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd (‘Janssen’), make note that the discontinuation of the 150 mg dosage form does not impact on the supply of the 600 mg and 800 mg tablet strengths.

Therefore, if you are someone (or working with persons) who will be affected with this change, we strongly encourage you to start consulting with your healthcare professional (prescribing S100 physician or treatment officer).

Related links