SPECIAL NOTICE: 2019 Novel Corona Virus

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03 April 2020 – NAPWHA Advice

Managing community concerns about ARV supply

23 March 2020

The health and wellbeing of our staff, clients, and the community during the current COVID-19 pandemic is our number one priority.  We have been actively monitoring, implementing risk management strategies and planning for all stages of this rapidly evolving situation.

With this duty of care at the forefront of our minds, QPP is responding by proactively embracing public health measures and temporarily changing the way we deliver some of our services.

The purpose of these response measures is to protect vulnerable members of our community and slow the spread of the virus, so it does not overwhelm the Australian health system.

QPP has put all social group, community consultations and other group meetings on hold until further notice. However, we have developed innovative solutions to deliver our services in different ways to ensure continuity and maintain our focus on support for people living with HIV and prevention.

Life + Program

Individualised services such as case management and peer navigation will continue to be provided as much as possible.  Each person’s needs and circumstances will be assessed to determine how best to deliver the services – by phone/text or online format such as video chat, and in person if required. If you are experiencing any challenges in accessing HIV medications, food, are homeless or have any other current supports please contact our case management team on 1800 636 241 or at referrals@qpp.org.au

If you are experiencing increased stress or anxiety in relation to HIV & COVID19 please reach out to our Peer Navigation team, also people living with HIV. They are here to provide you with emotional and social support online or by phone. Chat online now with one of our Peer Navigators by visiting our website qpp.org.au or phone 1800 636 241 or email referrals@qpp.org.au.

RAPID HIV/STI Testing Program

QPP’s RAPID HIV/STI testing program remains open at this stage with additional triage protocols in place and we are limiting the numbers of clients in the waiting room. We are also exploring a range of alternative HIV/STI testing models such as the online ordering of self-testing kits.

Please go the RAPID website for up to date information on services.

The Queensland Health website and the Australian Government website remains the latest source of information and we encourage you to stay updated as information and resources are added.

Please see the additional following websites for the most up to date information and resources on COVID-19 and HIV:

In these times of uncertainty and turmoil, disruption and fear can occur. However, it is important that we remain authentically connected to our shared humanitarian values of freedom, respect, equality and dignity.  To maintain social cohesion, it will be vital that human rights remain at the forefront of our minds and that we work together in the spirit of co-operation and togetherness that has seen us overcome difficult times in our past.  Stigmatising behaviour of people with COVID-19 may occur in society, so let’s all work together to reduce that with compassion, because we’ve all seen how that’s negatively played out in the past.

We will continue to provide regular updates as this situation progresses and we continue to innovate and find silver linings in these challenging times.

10 March 2020

QPP would like to acknowledge that we are on alert at the moment regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As there has now been person-to-person transmission of the virus throughout Australia some PLHIV may be feeling particularly vulnerable – especially if you have comorbidities and are of older age. COVID-19 is a new virus and respiratory illness and there is some uncertainty about what will happen and how fast the virus may spread within Australia.

As of 8th March 2020, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advises that the risk to the general Australian population from COVID-19 is low, with the majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia in returned travelers. However, State and Federal Governments have increased their efforts to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

AFAO, NAPWHA and ASHM have authored a comprehensive fact sheet for the PLHIV and LGBTI communities on Coronavirus. The fact sheet covers important questions on transmission and prevention, medication and general health. The factsheet can be accessed by clicking here.

02 March 2020

QPP would like to acknowledge that we are on ‘alert’ at the moment with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) Some PLHIV may be feeling particularly vulnerable, especially if you have several health co-morbidities and are of older age. COVID-19 is a new virus and respiratory illness and there is some uncertainty about what will happen and how fast the virus may spread to Australia.

Reassuringly, there has been no evidence of sustained human to human transmission of the virus in the Australian community to date. The Australian and Queensland Governments are confirming that the isolation procedures have been highly effective and are ensuring the safety and welfare of the Australian community.

However, if a global pandemic develops, it would be challenging to prevent widespread community transmission in Australia.

Accordingly, Australia is engaging in pandemic preparedness activities and response work is being undertaken across Queensland.

So, what can we do now?

The most important way to prevent the spread of either the flu or coronavirus is to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene:

  • Frequently washing hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow – discard tissues immediately and wash hands.
  • Stay one metre away from people coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid touching your face as this may transfer organisms to your mouth, nose and eyes from surfaces you may have touched.
  • If you are unwell with a fever and cough, stay at home and seek medical advice early.

Being prepared is about talking with your doctor about staying up to date with your vaccinations, including the annual flu vaccine.

We also have a window of opportunity to make some other practical preparations should this situation continue for some time or if we experience local waves of transmission.

  • Ensure you have good supplies of HIV and other medications.
  • If you are travelling – keep up to date with self-quarantine requirements.
  • Slowly stock up on non-perishable food.

What is QPP doing?

QPP is closely monitoring the constantly changing situation through working with Queensland Health and our sister organisations and peaks in Queensland and around Australia. We are also developing an organisational response plan should there be disruption to QPP or other services and supplies around us.

QPP is continuing with business as usual at this stage and we will keep you updated should there be any changes to our services and operations.

What is happening with the social groups in the meantime?

QPP will contact social group coordinators to discuss individual group plans in relation to social group events and will update the QPP website on status of individual social groups.

Keep track of events and social groups at https://www.qpp.org.au/events/

Further information and advice

For further information on who is at high risk, transmission and prevention – please click to the Australian Government webpage, which is updated daily.

There is a 24/7 Coronavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080

Queensland Health have prepared a number of fact sheets and Frequently Asked Questions are also available – please click here to visit the Queensland Health website.

For a factsheet about the 2019 novel coronavirus and people on antiviral medication (HIV treatment, HCV treatment, as well as HIV PrEP) – please click to the AFAO, ASHM, NAPWHA Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) sector release

The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual have also released Information for clinicians and patients.