This month, in addition to journal articles, we have come across some blog posts of interest:

  • This blog post uses interactive infographics to describe a global review of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs) among male sex workers.  
  • Of interest to anyone wanting to read or publish research in peer-reviewed journals, this blog post from The Conversation discusses the difficulties in accessing journals, the barriers to publishing, and some of the issues around paywalls.   



Law and Sex worker Health (LASH) Study: A summary report to the Western Australian Department of Health. Selvey, L. et al. This project aimed to investigate the impact of the law on Western Australian sex workers; their health and safety; and the intersections between sex workers, health service providers and Police. The report demonstrates several ways that the criminalisation of sex work in WA has negative impacts on the health, safety and wellbeing of sex workers, and the authors argue for decriminalisation of sex work. A summary of the report findings and recommendations was also published as an article on The Conversation.     


Annual Surveillance Report on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in Australia 2017. Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia and includes estimates of incidence and prevalence of HIV and viral hepatitis, by demographic and risk groups, patterns of treatment for HIV and viral hepatitis infection, and behavioural risk factors for HIV and hepatitis C infection.

Aboriginal Surveillance Report on HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs 2017. Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney. This surveillance report provides information on the occurrence of blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia for the purposes of stimulating and supporting discussion on ways forward in minimising the transmission risks, as well as the personal and social consequences of these infections within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Annual Report of Trends in Behaviour 2017: HIV and STIs in Australia. Mao, L., Holt, M., Newman, C., & Treloar, C. (Eds.). The Annual Report of Trends in Behaviour presents data from a selection of the behavioural and social research conducted by the Centre for Social Research in Health. The report focuses in particular on studies assessing trends over time or addressing emerging issues.

Policy Paper: Responding to Blood-Borne Viruses in Australian Prisons. Hepatitis Australia. This paper looks at the background of Australia’s policy responses to BBVs and why a revitalised response to HBV, HCV and HIV in prison settings is essential.

Eliminating Viral Hepatitis in Australia: Are we on track in 2017? Hepatitis Australia. This document looks at how Australia is progressing toward the 2030 Elimination Goals for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. 

Right to health UNAIDS. In the lead-up to World AIDS Day on December 1, this campaign publication explores the challenges people around the world face in exercising their right to health.


Journals include: Medical Journal of Australia; AIDS and Behaviour; Culture, Health and Sexuality; Harm Reduction; Journal of Medical Internet Research; Journal of Viral Hepatitis; Sexual Health; and Sexually Transmitted Infections. We have selected a maximum of five articles from each journal that have relevance to sexual health, STIs and BBVs in the Australian context. To view more articles from each journal, please visit the journal homepage.

Medical Journal of Australia (Volume 207, Issue 9)

Main topics

Title and first author


Children, same-sex marriage, LGBTIQ+

The kids are OK: it is discrimination not same-sex parents that harms children. K. Knight.

What they did: A perspectives piece discussing the current public debate about same-sex marriage.

What they found: Misinformation is circulating that children with same-sex parents are at risk of poorer health and wellbeing than other children. An increased public health risk exists as a result of homophobic campaign messages for the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) community.

Policy and practice implications: Medical practitioners need to speak up. Opportunities exist to add to the public debate, through public statements as individuals and from professional associations and workplaces.

AIDS & Behaviour (Volume 21, Issue 11)

Main topics

Title and first author


HIV, MSM, technology

Acceptability of HIV Prevention Information Delivered Through Established Geosocial Networking Mobile Applications to Men Who Have Sex With Men. H. Czarny.

What they did: A survey of MSM regarding geosocial networking (GSN) applications for HIV prevention information in Milwaukee, USA.

What they found: A sexual health section and self-seeking information were the most acceptable method and frequency of delivery.

Policy and practice implications: Continued research focusing on the feasibility of incorporating HIV prevention information into GSN applications is needed.

HIV, illicit drugs, prevention, technology

Examining the Acceptability of mHealth Technology in HIV Prevention Among High-Risk Drug Users in Treatment. R. Shrestha.

What they did: Assessed the use of mHealth (mobile health) HIV prevention in a convenience sample of HIV negative drug users in Connecticut, USA.

What they found: Participants expressed interest in using mHealth for medication reminders, to receive information about HIV, and to assess drug and sex-related behaviours.

Policy and practice implications: mHealth-based programs may be acceptable to this high-risk population.

Social Media, HIV, prevention, women

Facebook Advertising to Recruit Young, Urban Women into an HIV Prevention

Clinical Trial. R. Jones.

What they did: Evaluated Facebook advertising to reach at-risk, predominately African American or Black women in higher HIV prevalence communities for recruitment into a HIV prevention clinical trial.

What they found: Roughly twice as many Black women screened via Facebook compared to on-the-ground, yet, the percentage at high risk was similar.

Policy and practice implications: Advertising on Facebook can extend geographic reach and provide a comparative sample to women recruited on-the-ground.

PLWH, internet

Social Support in a Virtual Community: Analysis of a Clinic-Affiliated Online Support Group for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS. T. Flickinger.

What they did: Investigated how online social support was exchanged in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH).

What they found: Messages providing support were predominantly emotional followed by network, esteem, informational, and instrumental support.

Policy and practice implications: Mobile technology offers a useful tool to reach populations with barriers to in-person support and may improve care for PLWH.

 Culture Health & Sexuality (Volume 19, Issue 12)

Main topics

Title and first author


PrEP, prevention, HIV

Risk, safety and sex among male PrEP users: time for a new understanding. K. Koester.

What they did: Interviewed male PrEP users who participated in the inaugural PrEP demonstration project: the iPrEx open-label extension study.

What they found: Participants did not report significant changes to sexual practices once they had begun taking PrEP, and experienced a sense of relief or reprieve from HIV-related stress.

Policy and practice implications: No longer living under the threat of HIV is a significant benefit that has not been adequately explored in HIV prevention research.

GBM, queer, transgender, HIV

Sexual HIV risk among gay, bisexual and queer transgender men: findings from interviews in Vancouver, Canada. A. Rich.

What they did: Explored sexual HIV risk for gay, bisexual and queer transgender men in Vancouver, Canada.

What they found: HIV risk for transgender men is shaped by diverse sexual behaviours, including inconsistent condom use, seeking partners online and accessing HIV/STI testing and other healthcare services.

Policy and practice implications: Public health prevention and health education must meet the unique sexual health needs of the sub-population of gay, bisexual and queer men.

 Harm Reduction (Online)

Main topics

Title and first author


PrEP, women, IDU, NSP

Awareness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among women who inject drugs in NYC: the importance of networks and syringe exchange programs for HIV prevention. S. Walters.

What they did: Analysed data from the 2015 National HIV Behavioural Surveillance system cycle on injection drug use collected in the USA.

What they found: Awareness of PrEP was relatively low and risk factors were high. Increased PrEP awareness was associated with reported transactional sex and having a conversation about HIV prevention at an needle and syringe exchange program (NSP).

Policy and practice implications: Social networks are an efficient means for disseminating messaging about prevention materials such as PrEP in women who inject drugs.

IDU, prison

Risk behaviour determinants among people who inject drugs in Stockholm, Sweden over a 10-year period, from 2002 to 2012. N. Karlsson.

What they did: Interviewed People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Swedish remand prisons.

What they found: Women, early drug debut, amphetamine users and homeless people had significantly higher level of injection risk behaviour.

Policy and practice implications: Tailored prevention to combat Hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV transmission are required among PWID.

Harm reduction, HIV, clinical care

Harm reduction principles for healthcare settings. M. Hawk.

What they did: Used data from qualitative interviews with patients and staff from an HIV clinic in the USA to describe harm reduction principles for use in healthcare settings.

What they found: Principles described included humanism, pragmatism, individualism, autonomy, incrementalism, and accountability without termination.

Policy and practice implications: Applying harm reduction principles in healthcare settings may improve clinical care outcomes.

Harm reduction, community

What Goes Around: the process of building a community-based harm reduction research project. C. Jalloh. 

What they did: Explored how safer sex and safer drug use information is shared informally among peers.

What they found: It is advantageous to draw from community members’ involvement and direction in all stages of a community-based research project.

Policy and practice implications: Community members are highly invested in both informally sharing information about safer sex and safer drug use and taking leadership roles.

Journal of Medical Internet Research (Volume 19, Issues 9, 10 & 11)

Main topics

Title and first author


Sexual health, internet, adolescents

Sexual Health and the Internet: Cross-Sectional Study of Online Preferences Among Adolescents. A. von Rosen.

What they did: A survey delivered to high-school students in Berlin assessed students’ preferences when looking for sexual health information online.

What they found: Easily comprehensible wording was most frequently selected as (rather) important, followed by clear information layout. In third place came the credibility of a website’s publisher.

Policy and practice implications: Setting up sexual health websites according to the explicit preferences of the target audience might encourage usage.

Journal of Viral Hepatitis (Volume 24, Issues 10 & 11)

Main topics

Title and first author



HIV-positive men who have sex with men are at high risk of development of significant liver fibrosis after an episode of acute hepatitis C. K. Steininger.


What they did: Retrospective cohort study of HIV-positive MSM with acute HCV infection.

What they found: Significant liver fibrosis is a common finding in HIV-positive MSM following acute HCV infection despite high treatment uptake and cure rates.

Policy and practice implications: There is a need for close liver disease monitoring in HIV positive MSM with acute HCV infection.


Treatment with direct-acting antiviral agents of hepatitis C virus infection in injecting drug users: A prospective study. L. Boglione.

What they did: Prospective study to evaluate the effectiveness and tolerability of direct acting antivirals (DAAs) in PWID in Italy.

What they found: Sustained virological response was obtained in 93% of patients. Subjects with cirrhosis and albumin low level showed a higher risk of developing severe acute exacerbation and treatment failure.

Policy and practice implications: Overall in DAAs were effective and well tolerated in PWID.

GPs, HCV, health promotion

Limited impact of awareness-raising campaigns on hepatitis C testing practices among general practitioners. A. McLeod.

What they did: Examined HCV testing practice among general practitioners (GPs) in Scotland before and after the introduction of a campaign to promote testing.

What they found: Most respondents offer testing when presented with a risk history but only one-fifth actively sought out risk factors.

Policy and practice implications: Findings suggest that government- led awareness raising campaigns have limited impact on GPs' testing practices.


Racial/ethnic disparities in the prevalence and awareness of Hepatitis B virus infection and immunity in the United States. H. Kim.

What they did: Assessed racial/ethnic disparities in prevalence and awareness of HBV infection & immunity using nationally representative data.

What they found: The pattern of chronic HBV infection, past exposure and immunity varies significantly by racial/ethnic group.

Policy and practice implications: More active and sophisticated healthcare policies on HBV management may be warranted.


 Sexual Health (Volume 14, Issue 5)

Main topics

Title and first author


STI, HIV, transmen, transwomen

Transgender HIV and sexually transmissible infections. A. McNulty

What they did: Explored the prevalence of  HIV and STIs in populations of transgender women and transgender men.

What they found: Susceptibility to HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) is inextricably linked to the increased vulnerability of transgender populations.   

Policy and practice implications: There is a need for transgender-friendly multidisciplinary services offering individualised risk assessment, prevention advice and testing for STI and HIV.

STI, HIV, transgender

Current research gaps: a global systematic review of HIV and sexually transmissible infections among transgender populations. S. MacCarthy  

What they did: A systematic review was conducted that focused on HIV and STI infections among transgender populations globally.

What they found: More data are needed on how the interaction of individual determinants influence the HIV- and STI-related outcomes of transgender populations.

Policy and practice implications: Leveraging the knowledge of transgender-specific determinants of HIV and STIs should guide the content and approaches to future HIV and STI prevention and treatment efforts.

HIV, transwomen, ART

Transgender women and HIV-related health disparities: falling off the HIV treatment cascade. S. Kalichman.

What they did: This study examined the HIV continuum of care (also known as the HIV treatment cascade) among transgender women and cisgender women and cisgender men living with HIV.

What they found: Transgender women were significantly less likely to receive antiretroviral therapy Therapy (ART), were less adherent to ART and had poorer HIV viral suppression than cisgender persons.

Policy and practice implications: Socially supportive interventions should be considered critical in efforts to decrease HIV health disparities among transgender women.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (Volume 93, Issue 7)

Main topics

Title and first author


HIV, syphilis, testing

Role of dual HIV/syphilis test kits in expanding syphilis screening. M. Taylor.

What they did: This paper examines programs that screen pregnant women for HIV and syphilis.

What they found: Discussion of cost-effectiveness, effectiveness and patient acceptability of different tests and programs.

Policy and practice implications: The authors encourage other countries to support the use of rapid dual HIV/syphilis test kits and to evaluate cost effectiveness in antenatal care settings and among key populations.


Experiences of HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) among highly exposed men who have sex with men (MSM). R. Palich.

What they did: Reviewed findings of transgender populations and HIV/STIs.

What they found: Understanding HIV and STIs among transgender people requires research that simultaneously considers multilevel drivers of vulnerabilities.

Policy and practice implications: Leveraging the knowledge of transgender-specific determinants of HIV and STIs should guide the content and approaches to future HIV and STI prevention and treatment efforts.


HIV, sexual risk and ethnicity among gay and bisexual men in England: survey evidence for persisting health inequalities. F. Hickson.

What they did: Cross-sectional online survey of gay and bisexual men (GBM).

What they found: Among GBM in England, HIV prevalence continued to be higher among black men and other white men compared with the white British. The protective effect of being from an Asian background appeared no longer to pertain.

Policy and practice implications: Sustained systemic change across a wide range of social institutions is needed to change ethnic group inequities in HIV infection among GBM.


AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

ART Antiretroviral Therapy

BBV Blood Borne Virus

DAA Direct Acting Antiviral 

GBM Gay and Bisexual Men

GSN Geosocial Networking

GP General Practitioner

HBV Hepatitis B

HCV Hepatitis C

HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus

IDU Injecting Drug Use

MSM Men who have Sex with Men

NSP Needle and Syringe Program

PrEP Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

PWID People Who Inject Drugs

PLWH People Living With HIV/AIDS

STI Sexually Transmitted Infection