Our work in HTLV-1


Brief description

  • ASHM has initiated work to support progress in understanding and responding to HTLV-1 in Australia.
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), shares some features of HIV; it is a retrovirus that causes a chronic infection; it is transmitted by sex, blood contact and from mother to child, and it causes damage to the immune system. However, unlike HIV it causes a much more diffuse range of disease, severe in some people and mild or even non-existent in many others with the infection. Its distribution around the world is highly focal, with very high prevalences in particular geographic locations and populations and very rare elsewhere. HTLV-1 is present at very high rates in some Aboriginal communities of central and northern Australia.
  • Recent research has led to an increasing awareness in Australia of HTLV-1 and its impact. A group of clinicians and researchers have come together with a representative of central Australian Aboriginal communities to provide a forum for increasing awareness about HTLV-1, and guiding clinical, public health and community responses to the infection.
  • With these goals, an initial round table meeting was held in conjunction with the Australasian HIV and AIDS Conference in Adelaide in November 2016. This meeting has now been convened annually. A working group was established to take forward outcomes from these meetings, which meets monthly. 


Round Table 2016

Round Table 2017

Round Table 2018

​Round Table 2019

Presentations and webinars


Published articles and reports


HTLV-1 in the news


Figure:  TECHNICAL REPORT:  Geographical distribution of areas with a high prevalence of HTLV-1 infection published by European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)


Future events

  • WHO Global Consultation on HTLV-1, 13-15 November 2019, Tokyo
  • HTLV-1 session at the Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference, Melbourne 2020
  • 20th International Conference on Human Retrovirology, Melbourne 2021


Contact ASHM about HTLV-1

Please feel free to submit events, papers and reports for consideration for uploading via email: ashm@ashm.org.au