COPAHM E-NEWS ISSUE 14, 2021

 

Welcome to CoPAHM's quarterly e-News! This is your source for the latest updates regarding HIV and mobility issues. If you have something you would like to share via CoPAHM please let us know. For broader news relating to sexual health, please view the SiREN e-News or subscribe by emailing siren@curtin.edu.au.

Please get in touch at copahm@curtin.edu.au if you need assistance accessing the research. 

CoPAHM Updates

New faces at CoPAHM. Eliza Lock and Kadee Dillion are students who have joined the CoPAHM team. Eliza is studying a Bachelor of Science (Health Promotion) at Curtin University. Her role includes writing the e-news and tweeting all things HIV and Mobility from the CoPAHM Twitter account. Kadee is also studying a Bachelor of Science (Health Promotion) at Curtin University. Her role involves collating literature on sexual health and international university students studying in Australia. We warmly welcome Eliza and Kadee to the team.

Agenda 2025 - Ending HIV Transmission in Australia. The CoPAHM was invited to collaborate with peak organisations across Australia that work in the HIV sector, by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations earlier this year. The group was convened to progress the National Strategies and work to ensure HIV elimination is kept on the national agenda in preparation for the next federal election. Members of the CoPAHM have participated via a National Think Tank on strategies to end HIV in Australia by 2025, which aimed to implement three key advocacy products. The first being a report which summarises the evidence and proposes targets for achieving the overarching goal of eliminating HIV transmission in Australia by 2025. View the report here. The second is a Consensus Statement for Action, which can be viewed here. The third is an AFAO Statement, which outlines policy ands funding commitments to be proposed to the Government to achieve the overarching goal. The full list of collaborating organisations and outputs can be found on the Agenda 2025 website here

Diversity Dialogues: Sexually Transmitted Infections and Migrant Populations. The Health Consumers’ Council WA Inc. together with CoPAHM are presenting a special event webinar, which involves a panel discussion focused on the challenges around diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs) in culturally and linguistically diverse (particularly migrant) populations. The panel will include CoPAHM Coordinator Corie Gray, as well as community researchers working alongside Corie on the CoPAHM Srikandi Project. The event is taking place on Thursday, 29th July. Check out the event and register your attendance here.

 

CoPAHM WA. The CoPAHM WA looking for individuals who are interested in working in collaboration to identify and progress research and action on HIV and Mobility. Virtual meetings are held monthly. Priority populations include international students, travellers, migrants and refugees. If you are interested in being involved, or know someone who might be, email copahm@curtin.edu.au.

In the News

World Refugee Day. June 20th marked World Refugee Day. This year, the United Nations call for the greater inclusion of refugees in health systems, schools, and sport, recognising that their involvement will contribute to a stronger, safer, and more vibrant world. CoPAHM posits that a commitment to the health and safety of refugee populations should include addressing risks and drivers for STIs and BBVs including HIV. This commitment is reflected in the work of the CoPAHM, which is evident in its action towards ending inequalities that surround HIV, migration, and population mobility. More on World Refugee Day here. You can also view the CoPAHM priority actions here.

Call-to-Action: People on the Move Living with HIV Must Have Access to COVID-19 Vaccines. The International Organization for Migration and UN Migration have made a global call-to-action, calling for governments to ensure that national COVID-19 vaccination campaigns include all migrants with co-morbidities such as HIV, and to ensure efforts are made to remove the barriers many of them still face in accessing health services, including stigma and discrimination. Mobile populations are often more vulnerable to diseases, including COVID-19 and HIV. Further, people living with and/or affected by HIV and migrants often experience significant inequalities, and the rise of xenophobia and discrimination during the pandemic has served as a backdrop for some migrants living with HIV. Currently, there are many migrants who have found themselves facing triple stigma related to (1) testing positive for COVID-19, (2) having a positive HIV status, and (3) being a migrant. Further, for many migrants and displaced persons living with HIV or at risk of contracting HIV, risk exposure went up while the availability of HIV services went down. Equitable and inclusive health programmes that utilise the principles of universal health coverage are needed. Read more in the press release

Reflections on 40 years of AIDS. June 5th, 2021 marked the 40th anniversary of the first description of AIDS. For the last four decades, an estimated 75 million people have been infected with HIV/AIDS, which has resulted in about 35 million deaths. Despite progress, the end of AIDS is not in sight. Reflecting on the challenges, successes and evolving nature of global health of the last 40 years, the authors conclude that the fifth decade of AIDS will have to position HIV/AIDS in the context of enhanced preparedness and capacity to respond to other potential pandemics and transnational health threats. Read the full article here. You can also read a special issue of The Lancet, which presents reflections and evidence from the past four decades. Access the special edition here.

STI and HIV 2021 World Congress. To mark 40 years of HIV/AIDS this year, the International Society for STD Research, in collaboration with the International Union against STI World will be hosting a virtual STI & HIV 2021 World Congress meeting, July 14 - 17. This year's theme is "Sexual Diversity and the City", which acknowledges critical populations such as sex workers, migrants, men who have sex with men and transgender persons. This event will also address the challenge for future HIV/AIDS research through involving communities, practitioners and healthcare workers in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Register here.

The Australasian HIV & AIDS Conference 2021. This year marks the 30th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine which will be taking place online from 6th-9th of September. The conference is run by the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) and provides a platform for the dissemination and presentation of new and innovative research findings across the Australasian HIV sector. The conference facilitates discussions from delegates with a range of professional backgrounds and is a great opportunity for professional development. The registration deadline for the conference is August, 22. Read more about the event and register here.

 

How PrEPared Are You? Monash University. "How PrEPared Are You?" is a research project investigating the knowledge of and attitudes toward Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) amongst newly arrived gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men as an HIV prevention strategy. Monash University researchers are interested in speaking to individuals who: Identify as a man who is gay, bisexual, or having sex with other men; Are over 18 years of age; Have been sexually active with other men in the past 12 months; Have not been diagnosed as HIV-positive; Were born overseas; and have been living in Australia for less than 5 years. Eligible participants will receive a $30 Coles-Myer or Woolworths voucher to reimburse them for their time. The study is open to both PrEP and non-PrEP users, with or without access to Medicare. If you are interested, please contact Budi via email or call/sms 0431 931 200.

 

Tell Me About It: HIV Conversations in the Community Podcast. AIDS Map. Tell me about it is a six-part podcast series of honest conversations, which aims to share accurate and trustworthy information about HIV and sexual and reproductive health in a friendly and open way. The series is inspired by the conversations that people living with HIV often find themselves having with those unaware of the many new and life-changing developments in HIV prevention and treatment. Access the podcast here.

 

CAHS Research Skills Seminar Series. The Government of Western Australia, Child and Adolescent Health Services (CAHS) is holding a series of seminars throughout 2021 on a variety of topics designed to inform and assist in the development of research skills. On July 30th, CAHS will be holding a seminar entitled ‘Consumer and Community Involvement’. The seminar is an excellent professional development opportunity, where participants will learn how to actively involve consumers or community members to improve quality and increase the impact of research. The seminar will discuss basic principles of consumer and community involvement, the benefits and barriers, and how to get started. Read more about the event and access the full seminar schedule for here.

 

Human Rights Factsheet Series. UNAIDS has produced a series of fact sheets on human rights in various areas, highlighting the critical need to scale up action on human rights in response to the 2021-2026 Global AIDS Strategy. They are a series of short, easy to digest and accessible documents outlining the latest epidemiology, the evidence of the impact of human rights interventions, the latest targets, and international guidelines, recommendations and human rights obligations relating to each topic. Fact sheets released in June 2021: HIV criminalizationHIV and people who use drugsHIV and gay men and who have sex with other menHIV and transgender and other gender-diverse peopleHIV and sex workHIV and people in prisons and other closed settings and HIV and stigma and discrimination. Another four factsheets will be released later in the year.

Reports

Refugees and migrants in times of COVID-19: mapping trends of public health and migration policies and practices. World Health Organization. The report is the first publication of the Global Evidence Review on Health and Migration series, an evidence-informed normative product of the WHO Global Health and Migration Programme (PHM). The PMH aims to support evidence-informed policymaking and targeted interventions that are impactful and make a difference in the lives of refugees and migrants. The publication maps policies governing migration, borders, and access to health care for refugees and migrants that have been adopted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Policy considerations based on how governments have addressed the health of refugees and migrants in their response to COVID-19 are included to support international dialogue and knowledge-sharing among countries. A webinar was held to support the launch of the report. Access the full report here

 

HIV and Migration: Understanding the Barriers Faced by People Born Abroad Living with HIV in the UK. National AIDS Trust, British HIV Association. This report explores the barriers that migrants face accessing HIV testing, treatment and care, and makes recommendations to improve the health outcomes and quality of life of migrants living with or at risk of HIV in the UK. Further, it highlights the need to include migrant and mobile populations in the HIV response in the UK. Notably, the project utilised a peer-led research design model, by employing three migrants living with HIV as Peer Experts within the research team, and through consultation with a peer advisory group. This methodology aligns with UN recommendations to include the community in HIV research, to end the inequalities that surround HIV/AIDS. Read the full report here. A webinar was also held to launch the report, which you can watch here.

 

Global Progress Report on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2021. World Health Organization. This report documents the implementation of the 2016–2021 global health sector strategies for HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections. Drawing on data from multiple sources, it analyses progress and highlights the continuing gaps. It reviews the activities undertaken over the last five years against WHO’s five strategic directions: information, services and essential interventions, equity, financing and innovation. Of note, the report highlights the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, stating that the pandemic has caused disruptions in the provision of HIV tests, prevention and STI services. Read the full report here.

 

Qualitative Interviews with Overseas-Born Gay and Bisexual Men Recently Diagnosed with HIV from Non-English Speaking Countries: Report of Results. The Kirby Institute. This report presents findings on a qualitative study utilising semi-structured interviews with overseas-born GBM from non-English speaking countries living in Sydney, Australia, who had recently been diagnosed with HIV. The study aimed to characterise the key factors and barriers contributing to new HIV diagnoses among this group, providing an  opportunity to explore issues around HIV prevention practices, HIV testing, use of pre-exposure  prophylaxis (PrEP), initiation of antiretroviral therapy, identity, community, culture, the impact of  stigma, and engagement with healthcare services and community organisations. Read the full report here.

 

Global Commitments, Local Action. UNAIDS. This report reflects on the lessons learnt over the past 40 years in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and charts a course for the future action needed to end the pandemic. The report uses the UNAIDS 2025 targets as a baseline for action, and present key success in the current response that are needed, including strong political leadership on AIDS, adequate funding, genuine community engagement, rights-based and multisectoral approaches, and the use of scientific evidence to guide focused strategies. Read the full report here.

Research

“Moving from one environment to another, it doesn’t automatically change everything”. Exploring the transnational experience of Asian-born gay and bisexual men who have sex with men newly arrived in Australia. Asian-born gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) who are newly arrived in Australia are at a higher risk of acquiring HIV than Australian-born gbMSM. This study sought to explore HIV knowledge and prevention strategies used by newly-arrived Asian-born gbMSM. Twenty-four members of the target group attending a Melbourne Sexual Health Centre were interviews. Despite feeling more sexual freedom and acceptance in Australia, it was found that many were still not forthcoming with their sexual identity due to internalised feelings of stigma and shame. The data highlights the potential discrimination Asian-born gbMSM face in Australia, which has implications for social connectedness, particularly with regard to LGBTQI communities and HIV testing practices. Future studies should determine effective strategies to reduce sexual identity and HIV-related stigma in newly-arrived Asian-born gbMSM. Read the full article here.

"It is not an acceptable disease": A qualitative study of HIV-related stigma and discrimination and impacts on health and wellbeing for people from ethnically diverse backgrounds in Australia. This study aimed to explore HIV-related stigma and discrimination (HSD) in ethnically diverse communities in South Australia and the impact on health and wellbeing. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 10 individuals living with HIV from ethnically diverse backgrounds, 14 ethnically diverse community leaders, and 50 service providers. Data were analysed thematically. Findings indicated that HIV is a highly stigmatised condition in ethnically diverse communities due to fear of moral judgment and social isolation, and experiences of HSD were damaging to health and wellbeing. Actions addressing the impacts of HSD on people from ethnically diverse backgrounds are recommended. communication about PrEP and increase PrEP uptake among women. Read the full article here.

Interventions to Support International Migrant Women's Reproductive Health in Western-Receiving Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies were conducted to better understand how interventions can support the reproductive health of international migrant women. Sixteen studies were identified. Interventions consisted of linguistically (e.g., translated brochures) or culturally adapted (e.g., cultural narratives) routine care or new interventions. Meta-analysis showed that interventions increased preventive reproductive health activities rates, compared with usual care or interventions not adapted to migrant women. Culturally and linguistically adapted care practices congruent with target populations of international migrant women are effective in improving their reproductive health outcomes, particularly their participation in preventative reproductive health activities. Read the full article here.

Demedicalisation of HIV interventions to end HIV in the Asia-Pacific. In this study, the researchers aimed to explore the demedicalisation of HIV interventions. Demedicalisation is where medical discourse is shifted from a disease-focused to a people-centered approach. To do so, the researchers applied a demedicalisation approach into three frameworks and reviewed each by assessing HIV intervention examples from countries in the Asia–Pacific. The study focused on HIV interventions specific to key populations in the Asia-Pacific, including MSM, transgender women, and sex workers. After a review of the frameworks, they were found to be fit-for-purpose and an integral part of demedicalisation. This research supports demedicalisation as a strategy to increase acceptability and accessibility of HIV interventions in the key populations. Read the full article here.

A rapid review of pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV in the Asia-Pacific region: recommendations for scale up and future directions. To help inform PrEP rollout in the Asia-Pacific region, a rapid review of published literature was conducted to assess feasibility, implementation strategies, cost-effectiveness, and availability of national policies and guidelines. For the latter, an expanded Internet search was conducted. A total of 36 PrEP-related studies conducted among MSM, female sex workers, and transgender women were included. Most studies had addressed the availability and acceptability of PrEP, whereas cost-effectiveness of any approach was assessed by limited studies. A scarcity of published information was available about national PrEP policies and guidelines. Limited evidence suggested merging PrEP implementation with ongoing targeted intervention and treatment programs could be a cost-effective approach. Newer effective prevention strategies, like PrEP, should be urgently adopted within the context of combination HIV prevention approaches. Read the full article here.

 

‘You can reject me; I can also reject you’ Intersections of migration, race/ethnicity, and sexuality among Chinese diasporic gay men in Australia. This excerpt is a chapter from the book Sexualities, Transnationalism, and Globalisation. This chapter focuses on findings from an in-depth longitudinal qualitative study of the lives of 22 Chinese gay-identified men living in Sydney, Australia. The research dives into the use of the 'digital space' that allows new migrants to make links with the local gay diasporic community and helps men to avoid exclusionary discourses around race and ethnicity that are common in the Australian gay communities. Read the book chapter here.