A six-week workshop will start this month for people diagnosed with a HIV and hepatitis C co-infection.

The two-hour information sessions begin on Tuesday, August 30 and will be run by People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) Victoria.

The workshops are designed to help those with a HIV and hepatitis C co-infection better manage their health and better understand how the two conditions interact.
The workshops run until October 4.

A rise in cases of hepatitis C in HIV-positive men has caused concern in the health sector recently.

While most hepatitis C infection in Australia is linked to injecting drug use and other forms of blood-to-blood contact, earlier this year the Victorian Health Department issued a warning following the release of data (between May 2010 and April 2011) which revealed 37 HIV-positive gay men had been diagnosed with hepatitis C — a significant jump from previous years.

At least 19 of those cases were suspected to have been transmitted sexually.

Research suggests hepatitis C viral loads are much greater than normal in people with a HIV co-infection.

Those most at risk are HIV-positive men who have unprotected sex with other positive men and those who practise group sex, fisting and bondage. Fisting is said to be especially risky if gloves are not used and there are cuts on the hand and inside the anus.

Health promoters say the best ways to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting hepatitis C are through condom and water-based lube use, using latex gloves when fisting, and avoiding sharing sex toys.

INFO: To register, email [email protected]
or [email protected]

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