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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.

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.