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HIV Services

Specialist Clinics

The specialists from Sunshine Coast visit the clinic once a month and it is usually the first Friday of each month. Occasionally these dates have to change and we will give you as much notice as is possible when this happens.

Our appointments are booked well in advance so if you need to change or cancel your appointment, it is important to let us know in advance so that this can be offered to someone else.

At each specialist appointment you will have a comprehensive assessment carried out and an examination.  The specialist will also be able to write a prescription for your antiretroviral medications.

We will try to book your appointment with the same specialist but this will not always be possible.  It is likely that you will see different specialists over the course of your care.

Between these appointments you will be seen by a sexual health nurse.  They will follow up any investigations that are carried out, organise future appointments, provide pathology request forms, perform screening and will be a general point of contact if you have any problems related to your HIV or your prescriptions.

 

General Practitioners

We strongly encourage every patient to have a General Practitioner (GP) for every day issues such as coughs, colds and routine prescriptions. This is a specialist service at Q Clinic specific to your HIV care only.

We will also, with your consent, keep your GP informed of any changes to your care.  This will be communicated via a letter and written by the specialist.

If you would like, we can also provide your GP with copies of blood results and other tests taken here.

 

Pharmacy

The hospital pharmacies within the WBHHS are open Monday to Friday 0830-1630.

You can obtain your medication through the hospital pharmacy or a community based pharmacy, whichever is most convenient.

Very occasionally the pharmacies have supply issues which is why we recommend that regardless of where you obtain your medication, the pharmacy is contacted at least one week in advance.  Please don’t wait until your pills run out as they will not have your pills on the shelf.

If you lose or misplace your script, please let us know as soon as you can as it may take up to 72 hours to obtain a replacement.

 

How to contact us?

If you need to contact us you can either call us on 41502754 during office hours or email:
BBH-QClinic@health.qld.gov.au

 
 

Vaccination recommendations for people living with HIV

The following vaccines are recommended for all people living with HIV.

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Pneumococcal (pneumonia)

We also take into account previous vaccinations, risk factors for a particular disease or certain HIV-related factors.

 

Can HIV infection affect the effectiveness of vaccines?

Generally a vaccine works best when your CD4 count is above 200 or the CD4 percentage is 15% or above.

 

Are all types of vaccines safe for people with HIV?

There are two different types of vaccine available.

  • Live, attenuated vaccines - Live vaccines contain a weakened but live form of a disease causing virus.  These vaccines are not always recommended for people with HIV.  If you need a live vaccine it’s best to discuss this first with your treating specialist.
  • Inactivated vaccines – inactivated vaccines are considered safe for people with HIV.  There is no chance an inactivated vaccine can cause the disease it was designed to prevent.
 

Do vaccines cause side effects?

Side effects from vaccines are generally not significant (for example, soreness at the location of an injection or a low-grade fever) and go away within a few days. Severe reactions to vaccines are rare.

 

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is an acute infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus and is easily preventable by a vaccine.

Hepatitis A is most commonly spread by the faecal-oral route.  This may occur when anything that has been contaminated with infected faeces is put in the mouth. Persons who engage in certain sexual practices such as anal intercourse (including men who have sex with men and sex industry workers) and persons who inject drugs (including inmates of correctional facilities) may be at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A

Vaccination requires two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine with the second dose 6-12 months after the first.  Blood testing following vaccination to check immunity is not routinely required.

THIS IS CURRENTLY BEING PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE AT Q CLINIC

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection that is easily preventable by a vaccine

Hepatitis B can be transmitted by:-

  • An infected mother to baby usually occurring at or around the time of birth
  • exposure to infected blood and other bodily fluids eg through sharing injecting equipment
  • sexual contact  - including vaginal or anal intercourse, although the latter is associated with a higher risk
  • non-sexual contact with an infected person (horizontal transmission), eg through contact between open sores or wounds.

Vaccination requires three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine at 0,1 and 6 months.  You may require  a double dose each time.  You will also need a blood test 4-6 weeks after the last injection to ensure you have immunity.

THIS IS PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE AT Q CLINIC

Influenza (flu)

Flu is transmitted from person to person by tiny particles released when someone coughs or sneezes or by direct contact with respiratory fluids ie from hands.  Severe disease from seasonal influenza is more likely with chronic conditions like HIV and/or smoking.

Vaccination is required annually and is provided  FREE OF CHARGE AT Q CLIIC

Pneumococcal (pneumonia)

There are over 90 types of pneumococcus types recognised.

The bacteria normally colonises in the upper respiratory tract in humans.  Immunocompromised people may not be able to mount an adequate immune response if exposed to the infection.

It is transmitted from person to person via contact with respiratory droplets of colonised people ie sneezing.

It is recommended that Prevenar 13 is given first followed by Pneumovax 23 two months after.

Both vaccines involve costs (Prevenar 13 is approximately $120 and Pneumovax 23 is subsidised on the PBS so much less expensive).

Additional vaccination with Pneumovax 23 is recommended five years after the first then a third vaccination either 5 years after the second or when the person is 65 years or over – whichever is latest.

Travel vaccines

Routine vaccinations should be reviewed and updated before travel. All patients travelling overseas should seek specialist advice as to what is required.

Refer to the links below for specific country vaccination requirements

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service

Last updated: 11 December 2020