Much has changed since ASHM began as a small group of specialists. New technology and treatments have transformed the face of our sector, and indeed ASHM itself, but our values and vision remain the same. ASHM has been privileged to expand our remit more recently to include viral hepatitis, HTLV-1, and working beyond the borders of Australia and New Zealand. ASHM looks forward to further supporting our regional workforce across Asia and the Pacific, and collaborating to share lessons, strategies and experiences.

ASHM is proud to be entering our fourth decade working to support the health workforces. This milestone encourages us to reflect on the dramatic changes in medicine, treatment and prevention; in recognizing the strength and resilience of our peers, affected communities, and the many other organisations with who we’ve built long term partnerships. Our achievements wouldn’t be possible without this generosity of time, input and expertise.

ASHM originated from a group of concerned clinicians, returning to Australia from the Stockholm AIDS Conference in 1988. On that flight, they realised that fellow clinicians would need much more professional development if they were to see any success in responding to the devastating and personal impact of AIDS. The result was an auspiced organisation aiming to support health professionals to learn more about the emerging disease, receive clinical mentoring and exchange best practices, The Australian Society of AIDS Physicians.

The organisation helped develop the first national guidelines for HIV&AIDS related treatment, care and management, as well as contributing heavily to the first HIV National Strategy in Australia, released in 1989. After advocacy from New Zealand based clinicians, it was incorporated in 1990 to become the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine – what we now know as ASHM.

The development of a multi-disciplinary education project, the Health Maintenance and Monitoring Project (HMMP), was the first coordinated educational offering for clinicians, community workers and people impacted by HIV&AIDS. This would become the blueprint of ASHM’s ongoing National Education work.

While the organisation was initially located as a specialist society under the RACP, the epidemic required large scale, cross-sector responses. As the realization that we needed to more than just one kind of sexual health specialist grew, so too did ASHM.

While initially restricted to consultant physicians, before including general practitioners and subsequently nurses, membership has continually expanded over the past thirty years. We require a spectrum of skills and disciplines to prevent, manage and treat HIV, including researchers, epidemiologists, scientists, social workers, psychologists and other health professionals, including hospital and community pharmacists. Insights from these areas are welcomed at ASHM, with professionals joining as affiliate, non-voting members.

The integral role of primary care workers, from both general practice and nursing, has been increasingly recognized as an absolutely critical part of our response to HIV, both in diagnosis and clinical management, but also in delivering ongoing treatment and care in community contexts.

Join us on 14 November 2019 to celebrate the achievements of ASHM, our partners and our members over the past thirty years. We invite you to hear from a unique panel of past presidents, board members and passionate colleagues, to share and remember our histories, and to reflect on just how far we’ve come.

Panellists will include past presidents Edwina Wright, Jenny Hoy, Sharon Lewin, Andrew Grulich, Liz Dax, and Ben Cowie. AGM will begin after the panel discussion. There will be food and drink provided after the AGM, and the announcement of three new honorary life members. Please email to register!


Date:        Thursday 14th November 2019
Time:        5.30pm welcome with panel from 6pm 
Venue:     160 Clarence Street, Sydney

Keynote at 5.30pm, 7pm AGM followed by our 30th birthday celebrations.


Key Milestones


1989: First national HIV strategy published.

1990: First (regional) HIV Conference.

1993: Could It Be HIV? First national resource developed by ASHM.

1994: General Practitioners awarded full voting membership of ASHM.

1996Managing HIV second national resource developed by ASHM.

1997: Nurses awarded full voting membership.

1998: A survey of members found that the majority had an interest in and some responsibility for hepatitis C management. 

1999: First national Hepatitis C Strategy published.

2001: A new resource HIV and Viral Hepatitis: A Guide for Primary Care was developed and in collaboration with the Commonwealth department of Health and Australian Medical Publishing Company, put on every doctor’s desk. 

2002: ASHM begins to deliver hepatitis C training

2002: In-house Conference Manager joined ASHM

2003: 1st HIV Conference ran that was fully managed in house.

2003: The Hepatitis C S100 Community Prescribing Pilot was funded by NSW Health (& incl ACT) and extended to include VIC the following year.

2004: 1st time the team ran the Viral Hepatitis Conference (back to back with the HIV Conference).

2005: 1st time the team ran the Australasian Sexual Health Conference and had an external client (RACP).

2005: The Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Committee on HIV and STIs requested ASHM facilitate the production of regularly updated commentary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1 Infected Adults and Adolescents.

2006: Conference team became a separate division of ASHM.

2006: Membership was further broadened to allow full membership to all who supported the Objectives of the Organisation.

2007: Conference Advisory Group (CAG) was established.

2007: ASHM begins HCV S100 Community Prescriber Education Program.

2009: Community Prescriber Hepatitis C Treatment Initiation Pilot approved by the Highly Specialised Drugs Program.

2009: ASHM participated in ETHOS 1 and facilitated the development of the monograph Hepatitis C clinical management in opiate pharmacotherapy settings.

2009:  ASHM convened the writing groups and steering committees to draft the Third National Hepatitis C strategy and First National Hepatitis B Strategy.

2010: First National Hepatitis B Strategy published.

2012: ASHM delivers first Hepatitis B: Advanced Management in Primary Care course with course materials adapted for maintenance prescribing whilst awaiting approval of GP prescribing for hepatitis B.

2013: ASHM in collaboration with the Kirby Institute, AFAO and NAPWHA put in a successful submission to PBAC for the removal of the <500 CD4 restriction for prescribing HIV ART.

2013: ASHM in collaboration with the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, publishes the First National Hepatitis B Mapping Report.

2015: Formal approval of GP Prescribing for hepatitis B.

2015: Community dispensing of HIV and hepatitis B medicines.

2016: ASHM Queensland office opened.

2016: ASHM lodged a PBAC submission to broaden initiation of DAAs to include accredited HCV S100 prescribers and other experienced medical practitioners (SH physicians, AOD physicians) and experienced nurse practitioners – this was approved in mid-2016.

2016: ASHM formed a collaboration with the INSHU to develop an education and training program for practitioners and healthcare workers in drug and alcohol clinics to enhance knowledge about HCV prevention, management, and treatment among PWID globally.

2016: ASHM partners with North Western Melbourne PHN (NWMPHN), Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Alfred Health, and the Victorian PHN Alliance to run the Victorian HIV Hepatitis Integrated Training and Learning (VHHITAL) program to deliver prescriber training and support to more GPs across Victoria.

2017: ASHMs Australian HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Clinical Guidelines were published in the Journal of Virus Eradication. They were updated in 2018 to reflect changes to the PBS listing of PrEP treatments, and again in 2019.

2018: ASHM in collaboration with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity publishes the First National Hepatitis C Mapping Report.

2019: ASHM is facilitating the development of Australian HCV Pediatric Guidelines.