Thursday, 21 November 2013

FOREPLAY - The final push towards three zeros

A series of community events was held across two days in the lead up to ICAAP11, to allow community delegates to come together and network, and to be discuss key issues related to HIV and key populations in Asia and the Pacific.

The first of these events was FOREPLAY, a one day community pre-conference hosted by APCOM on 17 November.

What's the next step for HIV testing services?

After moving at glacial pace for years, HIV rapid testing is now being ‘rolled out’ in different forms around the country. Although this will make testing more accessible and convenient, there has not been much attention paid to the experience of the users of testing services, and how services might change their models and their design to enhance the user experience.

To help explore this question, AFAO teamed up with Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health District to commission a research project using innovative methods that focused on the ‘user’. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

New publication puts focus on HIV in Asia and the Pacific

18 November 2013, Bangkok, Thailand - On the eve of this year's International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP11) - the largest HIV conference in the region -  two leading community HIV organisations, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) , have released a special edition of AFAO's flagship publication, HIV Australia, discussing HIV in Asia and the Pacific.

The special edition aims to create discussion around the significant human rights, HIV and funding gap issues for men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people. These issues include:

  • Across the Asia Pacific region, rates of new infection have decreased among the general population but continue to grow among MSM and transgender populations.
  • Young MSM are at particular risk. One study from Bangkok showed that over a 5-year period, 30% of the young men involved in the study became infected with HIV.
  • Globally, transgender women are up to 48 times more likely to have HIV than other adults in the same population. Rates of HIV among transgender groups were: 43% in India, 26% in Indonesia and 12.5% in Thailand.

UNAIDS leadership forum at ICAAP – achieving zero new infections, zero AIDS deaths and zero discrimination in Asia and the Pacific

Panel at the UNAIDS Leadership Forum.
In the lead up to the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP11) -  the largest HIV conference in the region - The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS are hosting a two-day Leadership Forum entitled "Asia Pacific Getting to Three Zeros"  to discuss achieving zero new infections, zero AIDS deaths, and zero discrimination in the region.

The two day forum, held 18-19 November in Bangkok, is one of many events happening during the ICAAP conference that is putting the international spotlight on responses to HIV in Asia and the Pacific. Around one hundred senior government officials, policy makers and civil society leaders were in attendance on the first day of the forum.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Rapid test not always so rapid...from consumer's perspective

An interesting presentation by Stephen Davies from North Shore Sexual Health Service (Sydney) at the recent Australasian HIV & AIDS Conference showed that gay men preferred receiving HIV test results from a conventional blood test the following business day over a rapid point-of-care test.

Since December 2012, NSSHS has offered the option of receiving conventional HIV test results (if negative) by SMS on the following business day after their test. Gay men were able to choose between: 1) having a point-of-care test; 2) receiving their results by phone 5 to 7 days later; or 3) receiving results by SMS.

Overall, 94% of those who opted for SMS results were satisfied with this method. Of the 48 men who had previously had a point-of-care test, 35 elected a result by SMS. Feedback via clinicians indicated that men perceived conventional pathology as more reliable than rapid testing. A longer visit time also undermined the popularity of the rapid point-of-care test.

View abstract