More than one thousand international students in Sydney have benefited from the MHAHS International Student HIV Project.

The project aims to increase HIV health literacy, and promote access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment. The target audience is international students attending English language colleges in NSW. In partnership with Positive Life NSW, more than 41 education sessions have been delivered, reaching more than 1070 students in 2018.

Senior Community Engagement Officer, Wa'el Sabri said: “The project was highly successful in 2018, and we are proud that together with our partners we are able to offer such quality HIV education sessions to international students.”

More than two thousand Safe sex packs, HIV educational resources and information in several languages were provided at ten English Language Colleges.

The project continues to foster new collaborations. Last year, an integrated skills module was developed, in partnership with an English College. This module will help teachers to use HIV as a topic when teaching English. This module will be piloted this year, and it is hoped it can be scaled more broadly to other colleges.

Much of the project’s success is due to its ability to be flexible to the needs of the participating colleges and students. The 2-part HIV information sessions include 1 session that focuses on on HIV testing, prevention and treatment, and 1 session delivered by a person living with HIV.

“Our sessions provide factual information about HIV, and also allow students to hear about the experiences of someone living with HIV. This raises awareness of stigma and discrimination, and adds a human element to the program.

A key characteristic of our sessions is its ability to be flexible and adaptable in terms of its length, English language proficiency, cultural backgrounds. Evaluations suggest students have an increased understanding of HIV, and an increased awareness of HIV testing and prevention options following our session. A majority of students also indicate they are likely to share the information, which is really positive”, said Mr Sabri.

For more information about the International Students HIV Project , please contact Wa'el Sabri 0n 95151234 or email عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته.
The Arabic Hepatitis B Project of the MHAHS attended the Women’s Health Expo in March to celebrate International Women's Day.

Organised by the Muslim Women Welfare Assocation (MWWA), the 2nd Women’s Life Expo showcases a range of displays around issues affecting women’s lives.

The expo provides Arabic women and their families an opportunity to find new and innovative ways of improving their day to day life, according to Arabic Community Hepatitis B Project Officer, Faten Solaqa.

“The expo gives Arabic women the opportunity to browse a wide range of health serrvices available in the Local Health District, gardening, lifestyle to locally produced foods, entertainment and masterclass workshops”.
“The MHAHS team was at hand to interact with the visitors at its information stall and explain how the project can help the communities prevent hepatitis B. The team will also have goody-bags ready, with fresh fruits containing Get Tested. Know Your Status hepatitis B message stickers. Stickers make hepatitis B information more accessible,” said Ms Solaqa.

For more information about the Arabic Community Hepatitis B Project, contact Faten Solaqa on 95151234 or email عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته.
The MHAHS took hepatitis B information to the African community during the Africultures festival in March. The African Community Hepatitis B Project of the MHAHS hosted an information stall at the festival in Wyatt Park, Lidcombe NSW.

The community-run one-day festival is the largest of its kind in Australia, and showcases the diversity of African communities downunder through its foods, fashions and arts. Last year, around 30,000 people attended the vibrant festival.  

Cultural Support Workers from the MHAHS was on hand to talk to the community about how they can protect themselves from hepatitis B, according to project officer Lucy Mukoko.

“We also gave away free fruit with Get Tested. Know Your Status hepatitis B information stickers. Africultures was also about celebrating family and our hepatitis B sticker fruit was aimed at bringing families together by shedding more light on how they can protect one another by getting tested and if necessary, receive treatment, on time,” said Ms Mukoko.
African music, artists, dancers and drummers will take centre stage at the Kilimanjaro and Serengeti stand while rich foods from more than 16 African nations – from Ethiopian coffee, to South Sudanese and Somali will work its way magic at the appropriately named Nile Food Court. Fashion parades, drum and dance workshops, footy and soccer plays, along with the 40-plus market stalls for colourful clothing, fabrics, homewares, jewellery, etc complete what promises to be an entertaining open day picnic.

For more information about the African Community Hepatitis B Project, please contact Lucy Mukoko 0n 95151234 or email عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته.
A new Kirby Institute research report published in Lancet on October 18, calls for more promotion of HIV prevention medication PrEP in culturally diverse communities. Launched in March 2016, the EPIC-NSW research study funded by NSW Health, reports that despite unprecedented success in reducing new HIV infections, the level of reduction remains less so in people from diverse communities.

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and is a way of protecting yourself from getting HIV by taking a tablet once a day every day.

"The speed of the decline we’ve seen in new HIV infections in gay and bisexual men is a world first," according to Professor Andrew Grulich from the Kirby Institute who led the study.

"These numbers are the lowest on record since HIV surveillance began in 1985. Our research tells us these reductions are a result of PrEP, implemented on a background of high and increasing HIV testing and treatment rates."

"However, we did not see the same reductions across the board.

"Reductions were lower in non-English speaking immigrants with a smaller 21% decline among those born in Asia.

"We need to improve education and promote access to PrEP, particularly amongst culturally and linguistically diverse men who have sex with men, and those outside the gay neighbourhoods of Sydney."
NSW was the first state in Australia to trial PrEP on a large scale.The EPIC-NSW trial enrolled 9,714 HIV negative people at high risk of HIV and provided them with PrEP.

The study ceased enrolling on the 30 April 2018, following PrEP being made available in Australia through the subsidised Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

"Now that PrEP has been listed on the PBS, and is available across Australia, we need to focus our attention on ensuring equitable access for all people at risk of HIV," said Professor Grulich.
Visit our website here for PrEP information in different languages.