LIVE From ASHM 2017 – HIV Cure

Currently, there is a lot of chatter about HIV Cure.  What role do HIV positive people play in the research for a cure?  Are there different types of Cures? Why would I want to participate in cure research? Realistically, how far away is a cure for HIV?

These questions and so much more were discussed during the 2017 ASHM Conference in Canberra.

In this podcast, recorded live on 7 November 2017, Professor Sharon Lewin from the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, discusses some of the challenges that researchers face in their search for an HIV cure.  Also on the discussion panel are, Cipri Martinez, President of NAPWHA, Dr Rowena Johnston, Vice President of amfAR and Dr Robert Page, an S100 GP from Sydney.  Moderating this discussion is Heath Paynter from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.

Find out more about HIV Cure research.

BREAKING: Aussie Researchers Confirm U = U for Gay Men.

In the largest study of its kind, UNSW’s Kirby Institute conducted research with gay men in a sero-different relationship (where one partner is HIV positive and the other negative) from 2012-2016.

The findings of the Opposites Attract Study reveal, nearly 17,000 acts of anal sex without a condom took place.  Not one case of HIV transference took place.

We cross to the conference in Paris to speak with Professor Andrew Grulich from the Kirby Institute for this breaking news.

One of the study participants, Andrew Thorpe, shares how important this research was for him as the negative partner in a sero-different relationship.

We then head back to Paris as the Executive Officer of Living Positive Victoria, Brent Allen, brings us up-to-date with the latest from the conference.

HIV and Ageing – Part 2

Immunology and Ageing

Immunology and Ageing: lessons learnt for HIV. Moderated by Prof Sharon Lewin at the International Congress of Immunology, August 2016.

With over 35 million people living with HIV globally, public health systems will need to quickly adapt to meet the needs of this population as they age, and more science, especially in the area of immunology, is required to inform this response.

Globally there is a real push to do further research to understand the effects of HIV and aging on the immune system.  In August of 2016, 4000 of the world’s leading immunologists assembled in Melbourne for the International Congress of Immunology.

At the invitation of the moderator, Professor Sharon Lewin from the Doherty Institute, inside HIV was there to capture a special conversation featuring a panel of experts that included; Dr Alan Landay, Professor Tony Kelleher, Professor Suzanne Crowe AM, Professor Carl June and Bill O’Loughlin.

By 2020 there is estimated to be some 30 000 Australians living with HIV and more than half of them will be over 50 years of age.

If you missed Part 1, where Dr Clovis Palmer delivered the key note address at a special symposium on Immunology and Aging – please check it out.

HIV and Ageing – Part 1

Dr Clovis Palmer

Dr Clovis Palmer from the Burnet Institute delivering the key note address – Immunology and Ageing; lessons learnt for HIV

We know that aging with HIV is not the same as aging without HIV and that the virus makes fundamental changes to the immune system.

Half of Australia’s positive people are over 50 years old – as long-term survivors their experience of living with HIV for 25, 30 even 35 years – means that the effects of the virus and the long-term effects of some medications, are compromising their health and wellbeing.

These people experience a greater risk of age-related conditions – things like cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, kidney and liver disease, osteoporosis and cognitive impairment, years before those living without HIV.

By 2020, there is estimated to be 30,000 Australians living with HIV. The latest research suggests that while combination antiretroviral therapy has meant positive people can live longer lives, the average lifespan of those 30,000 people will be five years less than those who don’t have HIV.

In August of 2016, 4000 of the world’s top immunologists came to Melbourne for the International Congress of Immunology.  At the invitation of Professor Sharon Lewin from the Doherty Institute, inside HIV went along to a special symposium revealing some of the latest science around Immunology and Ageing.

In this, Part 1, you’ll hear Professor Lewin introduce the key note address from one of Australia’s leading researchers, Dr Clovis Palmer from the Burnet Institute.

Be sure to check out Part 2 where an extraordinary panel of the World’s best, discuss HIV and Ageing.

World AIDS Day 2016

World AIDS Day 2016 - Victoria

From left: Gareth and Heather, Hon. Jill Hennessy, Richard Keane and Associate Professor Edwina Wright

There are far too few opportunities for the broader community to hear the stories of positive people. World AIDS Day is the one day each year that allows us to connect and inform.

On 1st of December 2016, we went to the community launch of World AIDS Day in Victoria.  The theme for the day was “HIV is still here; and it’s on the move.”


Hon. Jill Hennessy – Victoria’s Health Minister

Richard Keane – President, Living Positive Victoria

Associate Professor Edwina Wright – Alfred Hospital

Gareth and Heather – Positive Speakers Bureau of Living Positive

Meet Marianne. A World Champion.

MarianneIn this episode we meet Marianne, one of the first women in Australia diagnosed HIV positive.

Her remarkable story of resilience, strength and determination, at a time when science and medicine offered little hope, should inspire all.  Turning to alternative therapies, Marianne maintained her health, wellbeing and sanity through good nutrition, diet and exercise. Those exercises would ultimately lead to her to becoming a competitive body builder.

She is courageous, an inspiration, a fighter and a World Champion.

ASHM Conference Report – Part 2

Launching At ASHMThis episode is part 2 of our report from the Australasian HIV Medical Conference – ASHM 2016.  If you missed part 1, you can check it out here or download it from itunes.

On the AFAO community stage, a special symposium featured many of the most exciting developments happening, for positive people.

Launching Australia’s first national campaign specifically designed to improve the lives of positive people was Aaron Cogle, CEO of the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA).  Aaron explains the evolution of the Good Quality Of Life campaign.

NAPWHA also played a part in the development of a world first.  MyLife+ is a smart phone app that helps positive people manage their health and wellbeing.

Oonagh Rocks, Community Affairs Manager at ViiV Healthcare discusses the development of the app, before introducing Bill Patterson, NAPWHA’s Operations Manager. Bill highlights the importance of integrating the lived experience of positive people, regardless of how technologically advanced the MyLife+ app is.

This symposium was where and this podcast series for positive people, launched. Caleb Hawk, the Communications Coordinator of the Victorian AIDS Council, provides some background before Dean Beck officially launches the project.

We also discover the difficulty Doctors have in defining the relationships of men who have sex with men (MSM).  Dr Vincent Cornelisse from Melbourne Sexual Health Centre reveals some fascinating insights from his research.

MyLife craig

ASHM Conference Report – Part 1

ASHM Conference 2016Developments in science, medicine, treatment and prevention have dramatically changed over the last 30 years of Australia’s HIV response.

The Australasian Society of HIV Medicine Conference held in Adelaide in November 2016, gave our peak health organisations a chance to share information, collaborate on projects, get updated on the latest advancements and connect with people living with HIV.  But what’s in it for you and me?

It was my first time to the ASHM conference and I was keen to find out if these events actually achieved anything, so I spoke to:

Joel Murray – policy adviser at Living Positive Victoria

Nicholas Parkhill – CEO of ACON Health NSW

Jason Asselin – Research Assistant at Burnet Institute

Associate Professor Mark A Stoové – Burnet Institute

Brent Allen – EO Living Positive Victoria

And we see how John is doing having returned home to his family for the first time following his HIV positive diagnosis.