Welcome to the first edition of ASHM e-News for 2020.  We start the year looking ahead to ASHM’s priorities regarding policy and advocacy. This month we celebrate the news that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) have endorsed authorized Nurse Practitioner (NP) prescribing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV medicines. We recognise the hard work of ASHM's Clinical Nurse Lead, Melinda Hassall, and our nursing advisors who have been instrumental in bringing about this change. ASHM also welcomes the PBAC's recommendation to provide subsidised treatment for pregnant women with a high viral load. 

More broadly, ASHM remains focused on challenging the harmful implications of the Religious Discrimination Bill. In particular, the adverse consequences of prejudicial barriers to accessing vital prevention and treatment services HIV PrEP, PEP and medical care for transgender individuals seeking affirmative healthcare. ASHM remains opposed to shifts in mandatory testing laws and practices which are ineffective and potentially harmful in several jurisdictions around the country. ASHM is also working to ensure that those who are Medicare ineligible can access services and care especially as they relate to migration into Australia.

We are looking forward to seeing many of our members and sector partners at our upcoming key sector events. The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference will take place in Brisbane this year from 16-18 August, with the Australasian HIV & AIDS & Australasian Sexual Health Conferences to be held in Melbourne from 21-24 September. These conferences provide an opportunity for the sector to meet, update each other and stay ahead of the sector needs as well as in ASHM's 30th year provide an opportunity to celebrate the past achievements and continue to collaborate to meet new and current challenges as we move into a 4th decade together. With abstract submissions opening soon, we also invite you to look at the range of scholarship opportunities available, provided by the ASHM Scholarship Program.