National Serology Reference Laboratory

Fitzroy, Australia

National Serology Reference Laboratory

Fitzroy, Australia

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Conway D.P.,University of New South Wales | Conway D.P.,St George Hospital | Guy R.,University of New South Wales | Mcnulty A.,Sydney Hospital | And 30 more authors.
HIV Medicine | Year: 2015

Objectives: Rapid HIV testing (RHT) is well established in many countries, but it is new in Australia since a policy change in 2011. We assessed service provider acceptability of RHT before and after its implementation in four Sydney public sexual health clinics. Methods: Service providers were surveyed immediately after training in RHT and again 6-12 months later. Differences in mean scores between survey rounds were assessed via t-tests, with stratification by profession and the number of tests performed. Results: RHT was rated as highly acceptable among staff at baseline and acceptability scores improved between survey rounds. Belief in being sufficiently skilled and experienced to perform RHT (P=0.004) and confidence in the delivery of nonreactive results increased (P=0.007), while the belief that RHT was disruptive declined (P=0.001). Acceptability was higher for staff who had performed a greater number of tests regarding comfort with their role in RHT (P=0.004) and belief that patients were satisfied with RHT (P=0.007). Compared with nurses, doctors had a stronger preference for a faster rapid test (P=0.027) and were more likely to agree that RHT interfered with consultations (P=0.014). Conclusions: Differences in responses between professions may reflect differences in staff roles, the type of patients seen by staff and the model of testing used, all of which may affect the number of tests performed by staff. These findings may inform planning for how best to implement RHT in clinical services. © 2015 British HIV Association.


Conway D.P.,University of New South Wales | Conway D.P.,St George Hospital | Holt M.,University of New South Wales | Couldwell D.L.,Western Sydney Sexual Health Center | And 33 more authors.
Journal of the International AIDS Society | Year: 2015

Introduction: HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men have increased over the past decade in Australia. HIV point-of-care testing (POCT) was introduced in Australia in 2011 as a strategy to increase HIV testing by making the testing process more convenient. We surveyed gay and bisexual men undergoing POCT to assess barriers to HIV testing and characteristics associated with not having previously tested for HIV (never testing). Methods: During 2011 and 2012, gay and bisexual men who were undergoing POCT at four Sydney sexual health clinics self-completed questionnaires assessing testing history and psychological and structural barriers to HIV testing. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to assess associations between patient characteristics and never testing. Results: Of 1093 participants, 981 (89.9%) reported ever testing for HIV and 110 (10.1%) never testing. At least one barrier to testing was reported by 1046 men (95.7%), with only 47 men (4.3%) not reporting any barrier to testing. The most commonly reported barriers to testing were annoyance at having to return for results (30.2%), not having done anything risky (29.6%), stress in waiting for results (28.4%), being afraid of testing positive (27.5%) and having tested recently (23.2%). Never testing was independently associated with being non-gay-identified (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 1.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1-3.2), being aged less than 25 years (AOR: 2.4; 95% CI: 1.6-3.8), living in a suburb with few gay couples (AOR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.2-3.0), being afraid of testing HIV-positive (AOR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.0-2.4), not knowing where to test (AOR: 3.8; 95% CI: 1.3-11.2) and reporting one or no sexual partners in the last six months (AOR: 2.7; 95% CI: 1.2-6.2). Conclusions: Barriers to HIV testing were commonly reported among the clinic-based gay and bisexual men in this study. Our findings suggest further health promotion and prevention strategies are needed to address the knowledge, attitudes and behavioural factors associated with never testing. © 2015 Conway DP et al.


Pedrana A.E.,Burnet Institute | Pedrana A.E.,Monash University | Hellard M.E.,Burnet Institute | Hellard M.E.,Monash University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes | Year: 2012

Undiagnosed HIV infections contribute disproportionately to the HIV epidemic. We recruited 639 gay men attending social venues, who completed a cross-sectional survey with oral fluid collection for HIV testing in 2008. We calculated HIV and undiagnosed HIV prevalence and used χ 2 tests and logistic regression to examine associations between participant characteristics and HIV status. Among 639 men, 61 (9.5%, 95% confidence interval: 7.4% to 12.1%) tested HIV positive, of which 19 (31.1%, 95%confidence interval: 19.9% to 44.3%) were classified as undiagnosed HIV positive. Almost a third of HIV-positive men were unaware of their HIV status, and of these men, a large proportion engaged in high-risk behaviors.


Pierce A.B.,Alfred Hospital | Armishaw J.,Alfred Hospital | Price B.,Alfred Hospital | Wright E.J.,Alfred Hospital | And 7 more authors.
HIV Medicine | Year: 2012

Objective: A Swiss nonoccupational post-exposure prophylaxis (NPEP) source-tracing study successfully reduced unnecessary NPEP prescriptions by recruiting and testing source partners of unknown HIV serostatus. The Victorian NPEP Service in Australia attempted to replicate this study with the addition of HIV rapid testing and a mobile service. Methods: Patients presenting to two busy NPEP sites who reported a source partner of unknown HIV status were routinely asked if their source could be traced. If the exposed person indicated that their source partner was traceable they were asked to contact them and discuss the possibility of having an HIV test. Results: No sources were enrolled and the study was terminated. Conclusion: We hypothesize that there are a number of differences between Australia and Switzerland that make source tracing unfeasible in Australia. © 2012 British HIV Association.


Pedrana A.E.,Burnet Institute | Pedrana A.E.,Monash University | Hellard M.E.,Burnet Institute | Hellard M.E.,Monash University | And 5 more authors.
AIDS and Behavior | Year: 2012

In Australia, HIV prevalence estimates among gay men have been mainly based on self-reported HIV status collected in annual behavioural surveys. We measured biological HIV prevalence among gay men in Melbourne, Australia, using a facility based sampling method. We calculated HIV prevalence and used logistic regression to assess correlates of a positive HIV test. A total of 639 gay men were recruited completed a survey and provided oral fluid for HIV testing from seven venues in 2008. The median age of the participants was 35 years (range 18-75 years). Overall biological HIV prevalence was 9.5% (95% CI 7.5-12.0%) compared with 6.3% (95% CI 4.5-8.4%) for self-reported HIV positive status. We found a significant discrepancy between test detected biological and self-report HIV status in our study, with 19 men (31.1%) unaware of their HIV infection. These results highlight the importance of repeatable biological estimates to inform and evaluate HIV prevention strategies. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Parsons M.S.,University of Melbourne | Madhavi V.,University of Melbourne | Ana-Sosa-Batiz F.,University of Melbourne | Center R.J.,University of Melbourne | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes | Year: 2016

Recent evidence from HIV vaccine trials in humans and non-human primates suggests that nonneutralizing antibody functions, such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), are an important component of vaccine-mediated protection. Whether anti-HIV ADCC antibodies are present in seminal fluid, however, is not known. We assessed whether anti-HIV antibodies within seminal plasma mediate ADCC and activate natural killer (NK) cells. Using matched blood and seminal plasma samples, we detected anti-HIV IgG within samples from all 11 HIV-infected donors. Furthermore, anti-HIV antibodies within the seminal plasma triggered detectable ADCC in 9 of 11 donors and activated NK cells in 6 of 11 donors. The ability of seminal plasma-derived IgG to activate NK cells in an anti-HIV antibody-dependent manner was enhanced when IgG were enriched and other seminal plasma components were removed. These observations have relevance for understanding natural immunity to HIV infection and provide assistance with HIV vaccine design. © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Donovan B.,University of New South Wales | Donovan B.,Sydney Hospital | Dimech W.,National Serology Reference Laboratory | Ali H.,University of New South Wales | And 2 more authors.
Sexual Health | Year: 2015

Background Gonorrhoea notifications have been increasing in Australia's cities, in both men and women. We investigated if this could be, at least in part, a result of a testing artefact. Methods: We surveyed 28 laboratories that were known to test for both Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) to determine their testing and reporting practices, and when these practices were instituted. Results: By 2012, 23 (82%) of the laboratories were routinely performing duplex nucleic acid amplification tests for both CT and NG even if a test for only one organism was requested, up from 9 (32%) laboratories before 2007. Although written reports of negative NG tests were not provided if the test was not requested, positive NG tests were always communicated to the attending clinician. Conclusions: The move towards routine duplex testing for CT and NG has probably resulted in more Australians being tested for NG than ever before. While this change has advantages for case-finding and improved public health outcomes, it also brings an increasing potential for false-positive NG tests. Recent trends in NG notifications should be interpreted with caution. © 2015 CSIRO.


PubMed | University of New South Wales, National Serology Reference Laboratory and Burnet Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Sexual health | Year: 2016

Background Gonorrhoea notifications have been increasing in Australias cities, in both men and women. We investigated if this could be, at least in part, a result of a testing artefact.We surveyed 28 laboratories that were known to test for both Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) to determine their testing and reporting practices, and when these practices were instituted.By 2012, 23 (82%) of the laboratories were routinely performing duplex nucleic acid amplification tests for both CT and NG even if a test for only one organism was requested, up from 9 (32%) laboratories before 2007. Although written reports of negative NG tests were not provided if the test was not requested, positive NG tests were always communicated to the attending clinician.The move towards routine duplex testing for CT and NG has probably resulted in more Australians being tested for NG than ever before. While this change has advantages for case-finding and improved public health outcomes, it also brings an increasing potential for false-positive NG tests. Recent trends in NG notifications should be interpreted with caution.


Kern G.,Innsbruck Medical University | Mair S.M.,Innsbruck Medical University | Noppert S.-J.,Innsbruck Medical University | Noppert S.-J.,National Serology Reference Laboratory | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Chronic nephrotoxicity of immunosuppressives is one of the main limiting factors in the long-term outcome of kidney transplants, leading to tissue fibrosis and ultimate organ failure. The cytokine TGF-β is considered a key factor in this process. In the human renal fibroblast cell line TK-173, the macrolide calcineurin inhibitor tacrolimus (FK-506) induced TGF-β-like effects, manifested by increased expression of NAD(P)H-oxidase 4 (Nox4), transgelin, tropomyosin 1, and procollagen α1(V) mRNA after three days. The macrolide mTOR inhibitor rapamycin had similar effects, while cyclosporine A did not induce fibrose-related genes. Concentration dependence curves were sigmoid, where mRNA expression was induced already at low nanomolar levels of tacrolimus, and reached saturation at 100-300 nM. The effects were independent of extracellular TGF-β as confirmed by the use of neutralizing antibodies, and thus most likely caused by aberrant TGF-β receptor signaling, where binding of tacrolimus to the regulatory FKBP12 protein results in a "leaky" TGF-β receptor. The myofibroblast marker α-smooth muscle actin was neither induced by tacrolimus nor by TGF-β1, indicating an incomplete activation of TK-173 fibroblasts under culture conditions. Tacrolimus- and TGF-β1-induced Nox4 protein upregulation was confirmed by Western blotting, and was accompanied by a rise in intracellular H 2O2 concentration. Si-RNA mediated knockdown of Nox4 expression prevented up-regulation of procollagen α1(V) mRNA in tacrolimus-treated cells, but induced procollagen α1(V) expression in control cells. Nox4 knock-down had no significant effect on the other genes tested. TGF-β is a key molecule in fibrosis, and the constant activation of aberrant receptor signaling by tacrolimus might contribute to the long-term development of interstitial kidney fibrosis in immunosuppressed patients. Nox4 levels possibly play a regulatory role in these processes. © 2014 Kern et al.

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