This section does not attempt to provide any professional opinion on HIV or AIDS but will simply provide links, information and news items about HIV and AIDS for your consideration.
Sexual Health Clinic
amfAR The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world's leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy.
YEAH Founded in March 2005, Y.E.A.H is empowering young Australians (and their parents & teachers) to know what HIV is, and believe they CAN do something about it!
This booklet covers a range of topics, including treatments and monitoring, transmitting and preventing HIV, safe sex, relationships, sexually transmitted infections, legal rights, health maintenance, women's issues and the stages of adapting after diagnosis.
It is in an easy to read format, and includes real-life stories shared by people living with HIV about their experiences after diagnosis.
Study pushes back origin of AIDS pandemic
October 1, 2008
By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The deadly AIDS virus first began spreading among humans at the turn of the 20th century in sub-Saharan Africa, just as modern cities were emerging in the region, U.S. researchers said Wednesday.
The finding pushes back the origin of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by several decades, they reported in the journal Nature.
Researchers think the growth of cities -- and high-risk behavior associated with urban life -- may have helped the virus to flourish. There is no cure for AIDS, which is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact.
Prior estimates put the origin of HIV at 1930. But Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona in Tucson now believes HIV began infecting humans between 1884 and 1924.
The research is based on 48-year-old gene fragments dug from a wax-embedded lymph node from a woman in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire.
The 1960 sample is the second-oldest genetic sequence of HIV-1 group M, the main strain of the virus responsible for the AIDS pandemic.
The oldest sequence came from a 1959 blood sample given by a man in Kinshasa, formerly known as Leopoldville.
"Once you have two you can line them up and compare them," Worobey said in a telephone interview.
"Once you do that, you see these two sequences are very different. That means the virus had already been there for a long time even by 1959 or 1960."
CALIBRATING THE CLOCK
Putting the two samples together with dozens of other previously known HIV-1 genetic sequences, the researchers constructed family trees for this strain of HIV.
"Those old sequences helped calibrate the molecular clock, which is essentially the rate at which mutations accumulate in HIV," Worobey said.
"Once you have that rate, you can work backward and make a guess of when the ancestor of the whole pandemic strain of the AIDS virus originated. It is that ancestor we are dating to 1908 plus or minus about 20 years."
Research from chimpanzee droppings suggests the virus first spread from chimps to humans in southeastern Cameroon. Worobey thinks the disease spread slowly among the local population until one of the infected people went to Kinshasa, where it had more opportunity to spread.
Worobey thinks by the 1960s, several thousand people may have been infected with HIV. By 1981, the rest of the world began to recognize the pandemic, which has now infected 33 million people and killed 25 million.
But Worobey sees some hope in the study.
"HIV is one of these pathogens that you could almost think of as living on the edge of extinction," he said.
If it had not been carried to a city, it may not have survived the jump to humans.
"It means there are things we could do to actually make it so that it doesn't have a chance of spreading," Worobey said.
Disease prevention is one of the most important issues in HIV, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which help fund the research.
"For every one person that we put on therapy, two to three people in the developing world get newly infected," he said in a telephone interview. "The only way we are going to get our arms around this is through prevention."Source: REUTERS
HIV rates in Australia up fifty percent in the past eight years
Tuesday, 16th September, 2008
HIV rates in Australia have increased by almost fifty percent in the past eight years -- according to a national report compiled by University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers.
Overall, the number of new HIV diagnoses in Australia has increased each year from 718 in 1999 to 1,051 in 2007.
Significantly, the report sheds light on migrants and returning expat Australians, by showing that in 2007, one in ten newly-reported infections in Australia were originally diagnosed overseas.
In common with other Western countries people born in sub-Saharan countries now resident in Australia have substantially higher rates of HIV/AIDS diagnosis than among Australian-born people, reflecting Africa as the epicentre of the global HIV epidemic.. Sixty percent of cases of infection attributed to heterosexual contact were in people from high prevalence countries or their sexual partners.
The findings are contained in the HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual Surveillance Report, which has been prepared by researchers from UNSW's National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (NCHECR) for the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.
The report, which is one of two from UNSW to be released this week (Wednesday 17th September) at the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine's annual conference in Perth.
Other findings include:
Chlamydia continues to be the most frequently reported notifiable infectious disease in Australia, with 51 867 cases diagnosed in 2007, a 9% increase over the number diagnosed in 2006
The rate of diagnosis of infectious syphilis more than doubled from 3.1 in 2004 to 6.6 in 2007. These increases predominantly occurred among homosexual men.
The diagnosis of hepatitis C infection declined by 17 percent over the past five years to 58.8 per 100 000 population in 2007.
The estimated number of people living with HIV infection in Australia in 2007 was 16,692, including 11,928 in the age group 15 - 49 years.
Trends in new HIV diagnoses differed by State/Territory. New South Wales had a stable population rate at around 6.0 per 100,000 population and the rate in Queensland increased from 3.3 in 2003 to 4.6 in 2007. In Victoria, the rate of HIV diagnosis was stable in 2006 - 2007, after having steadily increased each year from 1999.
The second report, by UNSW researchers at the National Centre in HIV Social Research, the HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual report of trends in behaviour 2008 shows that among those diagnosed with HIV infection across all states, about two-thirds are currently receiving treatment.
The report shows:
Men who have sex with men in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, report fewer casual sexual partnerships since 2003
Small but sustained increases in NSW and Victoria in the proportions of HIV-positive men that report engaging in unprotected anal intercourse with their HIV-negative regular partners - in the context of more discussion and disclosure.
The knowledge about sharing needles and the risk of hepatitis amongst young people attending music festivals is very high, but many fewer knew the risks associated with unsterile tattooing or body piercing.
CONTACT DETAILS: Professor John Kaldor, Deputy Director of UNSW's National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research 0414 295 546, Susi Hamilton, UNSW media unit, 9385 1583 or 0422 934 024, firstname.lastname@example.org
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
The grim legacy of a landmark campaign
Sydney Star Observer
5 April 2007
The cowled figure still haunts today. As the creators of the controversial grim reaper campaign celebrate its great success, others tell of being demonized by fear.
The Grim Reaper AIDS awareness campaign of 1987 stands among the most controversial and the most memorable moments in 50 years of television in Australia.
This week the architects behind the campaign are commemorating its 20-year anniversary by looking back at the legacy of the country's most effective public health advertisement.
Tasked with warning people of the growing threat, the National Advisory Committee for AIDS approved an advertisement that depicted men and women of all ages as bowling pins, knocked down by cowled Grim Reaper figures.
Ita Buttrose, then chairperson of NACAIDS, said the advertisement ran for only six weeks but once seen it was never forgotten.
"When I first saw it, it absolutely chilled me to the bone, it had an impact on me too," she said.
"It was a controversial campaign, I suppose, in that it really shocked people. That was its intention, to wake up Australia out of its apathy. Because it got people talking, it generated its own publicity."
"There's never been quite as effective a campaign in Australia. More than 90 percent of people had seen it, discussed it and changed the way they thought about their behaviour," she said.
"More importantly it alerted people to the fact that people with HIV/AIDS were people, human beings."
Buttrose said AIDS fundraising was nearly impossible before the Grim Reaper campaign.
"I think it's very easy to forget how much prejudice there was - it wasn't fashionable to fight HIV/AIDS back then."
Professor Sue Kippax from the National Centre of HIV Research at the University of NSW said the advertisement put HIV on the map.
"Everybody in Australia knew within two weeks what HIV was - that was a remarkable thing to do."
Kippax said it was important to acknowledge the event because it marked a government commitment to fund and take HIV seriously.
"That campaign made it very clear the government was concerned and would put effort into controlling the threat," she said.
"Along with the Grim Reaper and the campaigns that followed it was a commitment to fund the AIDS organisations, and setting up the partnership that is Australia's response to HIV," Kippax said.
Bill Bowtell from the Lowy Institute said were it not for the Grim Reaper there would not have been funding for AIDS Councils and researching institutions.
"The Grim Reaper kicked off 20 years of sustained effort by governments, researchers, clinicians, keeping rates of HIV in Australia very low," he said.
Crediting the Australian success to the partnership between government, community and clinicians, Bowtell said the 60-second spot played an important role, but was just the tip of the iceberg.
"The Grim Reaper was a visible symbol on TV, but underneath there was a massive mobilisation of information," he said.
"There were 10 million inserts into Reader's Digest and a massive mail drop to every household in Australia.
"Publications in Sydney Star Observer, Dolly magazine, the Bulletin, everybody else responded editorially, putting in information about AIDS for their readership," he said.
"If it had just been a memorable ad without the information it would have been worthless. Every poll indicated that people's knowledge went up, discrimination went down, and behaviour changed. We used condoms. We had access to needle exchanges. It was already apparent that gay men had started to protect themselves, but that information kept the new infection rate plummeting and kept it very low for 20 years."
Paul Kidd, editor of Positive Living, said the campaign was really effective in making straight people aware of the threat, but did little to help the gay community.
"In 1987 we were already terribly aware of what AIDS was doing in the gay community," he said.
"The people who were already at risk, gay men, had already stopped having unsafe sex - we invented safe sex."
Rather than humanise those with HIV, Kidd said the campaign helped demonise them.
"They said the Grim Reaper was supposed to represent HIV the virus but a large number of people saw gay men in those grim reapers.
"Certainly that made people aware there was a disease they could get from gay men and that created a real division between the gay and straight worlds."
The sentiment was confirmed by one of the campaign architects in 2002, when Professor Ron Penny said the campaign unintentionally demonised the gay community.
"The downside was that the Grim Reaper became identified with gay men rather than as the Reaper," Penny said to reporters.
Bowtell, Kippax and Buttrose all disagreed, saying the Grim Reaper demonised the virus, not gay men.
"If you look at instances of discrimination in the four years before the Grim Reaper and the four years after, as soon as people had honest information, those problems dived," Bowtell said.
"HIV is a demon, it's understandable for people to be fearful of HIV, but I think it made people realise that anyone was at risk of getting it," Kippax said.
The Health Promotion Unit of People Living With HIV/AIDS New South Wales has engaged in a range of partnerships to facilitate the collation of current information from researchers, health care professionals and hiv positive community(ies) to produce a series of factsheets. These factsheets aim to improve access to information, raise awareness and knowledge around issues that impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV/AIDS and affected communities.
This factsheet focuses on the most common side effects of efavirenz, and includes people's personal stories explaining how they dealt with them. This information is intended to prepare and inform you, so that you don't feel scared if something comes up. The fact sheet does not aim to provide all the available information about efavirenz. It does not endorse efavirenz or warn against it and is not a substitute for your doctor's advice.
The second fact sheet in the series focuses on HIV related fatigue. It is important for people with HIV to find out what is causing fatigue and to treat it. This factsheet lists a number of causes of fatigue and ways to deal with them.
Our third fact sheet looks at HIV medications. If your doctor has suggested that you consider starting combination therapy then this fact sheet is for you.
Are you thinking about getting a job and returning to work again? This fact sheet explores some of the issues facing people considering a return to work and aims to provide some clear practical information and advice.
Body shape change (lipodystrophy) can be a challenging experience. Lipodystrophy may or may not be a concern for you personally. Either way, you might like to find out more about how some people experience and deal with body shape change. The voices presented in this fact sheet highlight important themes and issues, but should not be seen as representing all the diverse experiences of people with HIV and lipodystrophy.
Due to advances in HIV treatments and our knowledge of HIV, there are many strategies that can be used to minimize the risk of passing on HIV to your baby. This fact sheet is for you if you are HIV positive and have questions about having a baby.
The seventh fact sheet in this series discusses clinical trials. Clinical trials are experiments in which new therapies for HIV or new approaches to treatment are tested in people. This fact sheet provides you with information and some questions to ask if you are considering participating in a clinical trial.
This factsheet is based on a series of interviews with people with HIV who use methamphetamine (meth). Their voices highlight important themes and issues about their lived experiences. Personal narratives explore the impact of meth use on their physical and emotional health as well as demonstrating the need to develop non-judgmental support services for those experiencing dependency and its consequences.
Taking care of your mouth and teeth is a very important, yet often overlooked, part of maintaining general health. People with HIV may experience changes in the oral environment and this fact sheet explores a number of the more common changes and ways to keep your mouth healthy.
Disclosure is a big issue for people with HIV. This fact sheet has come out of a larger project looking at newly diagnosed HIV positive gay men and peer networks.
Syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have become increasingly common among HIV positive gay men. Syphilis in particular can have serious health implications for people with HIV, and looking after your sexual health is an important part of good HIV and health management. This factsheet looks at some of the symptoms of syphilis. It also looks at some reasons why it is important for sexually active men with HIV, to test regularly for STIs, including syphilis.
Living with HIV in rural and regional areas has both benefits and challenges. This fact sheet has been developed from a workshop on living with HIV in rural NSW. HIV positive men and women reflected on issues including health strategies, confidentiality, disclosure, relationships, access to reliable services, poverty, building new communities and friendships, life changes and quality of life.
A DSP Review now referred to by Centrelink as a Medical Service Update, can be a confusing and unsettling process. This factsheet offers information and some practical tips on how to better understand the DSP Review.
As a culture, we don't celebrate maturity and nor do we collectively offer much evidence of its existence. This factsheet aims to provide some insight into how HIV positive people experience ageing and living longer.
STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are an important health issue for people with HIV. This factsheet has been developed from a series of interviews and discussions with HIV positive and negative gay men on their experiences of testing for STIs. It looks at why it is particularly important for gay men with HIV to test for STIs.
Most gay men have been in a relationship. And about two-thirds are in a relationship at any time. Although relationships can vary greatly, one thing they have in common is that they all contain agreements of some kind. This factsheet will address the important issues of relationship agreements for HIV positive gay men. Personal stories offer strategies and practical tips on the important issues of relationships and relationship agreements.
Many people with HIV have experienced diarrhoea and this can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Diarrhoea can be caused by HIV itself, by viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections, by medicines or by contamination of food because of poor food hygiene. Stress and emotional problems are other causes. This fact sheet looks at ways some HIV positive people deal with diarrhoea.
Sex and risk: Why do we take risks? How do I manage risk and take control? If I have had unsafe sex what can I do to take back control? And how do I deal with a positive diagnosis? This fact sheet looks at how gay men manage risk. It also offers strategies and practical tips on taking back control after a risk event, the subsequent testing for HIV [and] dealing with a positive diagnosis.
Positive sex and risk: What does risk mean after a positive diagnosis? Do boundaries and attitudes to sex change? How do we think or talk about risk? This fact sheet looks at sex and risk and offers strategies and practical tips on how they play out in the lives of positive gay men. For many, this is a considered process, which weighs the pleasures and the risks.
This fact sheet looks at why and how you might disclose your HIV status to your child. It also shares some of the views and experiences of parents who have not yet disclosed. Every family's situation is different, with different considerations and circumstances to weigh up.