Research Projects

Research Projects - Australia

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) projects

WSSH through Professor David Lewis, was a partner in 6 NHMRC applications in 2016, including an application for NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (co-Chief Investigator), 5 applications for NHMRC Project Grants (4 as co-Chief Investigator and 1 as Associate Investigator).

NSW Ministry of Health – Kirby Institute (UNSW) Implementation Projects

Project Researchers
Principal Investigator: Professor David Cooper
EPIC-NSW: Expanded PrEP Implementation in Communities in NSW

WSSH Contact:

Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au

This study is designed to look at the impact of the rapid expansion of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) on HIV incidence, in a setting with high HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment coverage, to achieve the virtual elimination of HIV transmission by 2020: a NSW HIV Strategy implementation project. Website: https://epic-nswstudy.org.au/
Principal Investigator: Dr Iryna Zablotska
Implementaion of HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis with Antiretroviral Medications with People at High risk for HIV infections (PRELUDE)

WSSH Contact:

Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au

This study is designed to look into how clinics can provide PrEP in NSW. It will study whether people in NSW find it easy and agreeable to take PrEP every day, why they take it, what it’s like to take it, and whether it changes how they have sex. It will study how easy it is for doctors to use it with their patients, and what resources are necessary to make PrEP available in NSW. Website: https://prelude.org.au/

The sexual health and access to care of men who have sex with men in Western Sydney

Project Researchers
Principal Investigator: Dr Catriona Ooi
Sexual Health services for HIV/STI screening in Western Sydney

WSSH Contact:

Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au

This study aims:
  • To describe the profile of MSM attending an outreach clinic at a SOPV and compare to MSM attending a routine sexual health clinical service.
  • To assess acceptability of the outreach clinic and testing experience, in order to inform future sexual health service delivery models, health promotion strategies and harm minimisation approaches.
  • To determine the effectiveness of providing such a service to access hard to reach populations.
Website: https://epic-nswstudy.org.au/

Chlamydia Genomics Study

Principal Investigators: Professor David Lewis Associate Professor Vitali Sintchenko
Deciphering persistent infections, reinfections and transmission networks using genomics of Chlamydia trachomatis (GenomicCT Study)

WSSH Contact:

Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au

ICPMR Contact:

Rebecca Rockett rebecca.rockett@health.nsw.gov.au

This study aims to determine the genomic variation of C. trachomatis in cases of acute and persistent infection using culture independent whole genome sequencing in clinical samples from individuals with established and unknown transmission networks. It will also investigate relative frequency of C. trachomatis genotypes circulating in NSW, evaluate ability of whole genome sequencing to differentiate between re-infection and treatment failure in patients with C. trachomatis infections detected after treatment, and examine and investigate genomic markers of antibiotic susceptibility in C. trachomatis positive isolates.

Oral HPV Study

Principal Investigator: A/Prof Richard Hillman
Oral HPV Study

WSSH Contact:

A/ Prof Richard Hillman richard.hillman@sydney.edu.au

The detection of HPV DNA in oral rinses of patients attending dental outpatients departments and investigation of possible links with demographic and behavioural characteristics.

TAN

Principal Investigators: A/Prof Richard Hillman A/Prof Angela Webster
Anal Neoplasia in Transplant Patients (TAN)

WSSH Contact:

A/ Prof Richard Hillman richard.hillman@sydney.edu.au

SWOP

Principal Investigator: Professor David Lewis
Evaluation of Outreach Testing in Sex Workers in Western Sydney

WSSH Contact:

Arlie Rochford arlie.rochford@health.nsw.gov.au

The WSSHC has a tailored outreach project commenced in July 2015 aimed at increasing access to screening for STIs and BBV in female sex workers in Western Sydney. Once per week a registered nurse and Maggie, our Mandarin multicultural health care worker visit parlours in Western Sydney and offer on site STI screening and safer sex education including health care service information and condom provision. Participation in the screening is voluntary. Those who choose not to participate are encouraged to attend WSSHC or to obtain testing elsewhere.

AMEN

Principal Investigator: Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar
AMEN

WSSH Contact:

Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar shailendra.sawleshwarkar@sydney.edu.au

Collaborative Projects

Opening the Door: Deadly Liver Mob

Project Researchers
Principal Investigator: Carla Treloar
Opening the Door: Deadly Liver Mob WSSH Contact: Jennifer Walsh jennifer.walsh@health.nsw.gov.au
Deadly liver mob project (DLMP) operates out of the Needle and syringe program (NSP) in partnership with the co-located Sexual Health Clinic Mt Druitt Community Health Centre, New South Wales. DLMP is dedicated to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access into hepatitis C treatment and aims to create a more meaningful encounter with clients accessing the NSP as well as their family, community and injecting network. The program uses the traditions of sharing stories orally, participants yarn up about hepatitis C with the Aboriginal Project Worker and then go on to share the information with up to three Aboriginal recruits. Website: http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/key-resources/programs-projects?pid=2316

Gay Asian Men’s Community Survey

Gay Asian Men’s Community Survey Principal Investigator: University of New South Wales humanethics@unsw.edu.au
The research study is aiming to conduct a comprehensive assessment of HIV prevention needs among men who have sex with men of Asian background who are currently living in Sydney. The survey will ask questions about HIV-related behaviours and practices, engagement with networks, communities and health services, as well as knowledge, beliefs and attitudes towards HIV prevention and treatment. WSSH Contact: Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au
Website: http://www.acon.org.au/get-involved/participate-in-research/#participate-in-research

Straight MSM study: Heterosexually Identified Men who have sex with Men

Straight MSM study: Heterosexually Identified Men who have sex with Men Principal Investigator: Christy Newman
Interviewing clinicians to document expert perspectives on this population and to establish a methodology for engaging with heterosexually-identified men who have sex with men in Greater Sydney and regional NSW. Aiming to identify ways to find them, how to recruit then for research, and how to reach them in the future. WSSH Contact: Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au
Website: http://www.acon.org.au/get-involved/participate-in-research/#participate-in-research

Impact Study: National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Monitoring Program

Principal Investigator: Professor Sepehr Tabrizi
Impact Study: National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Monitoring Program WSSH Contact: Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common virus. In some rare cases it can cause cervical cancer in women and anogenital cancers (anal and penile) in men. In 2007, the Australian Government introduced an HPV Vaccination program for girls and women to protect against the HPV types that cause the majority of these cancers. A program for boys was introduced in 2013. One way to check how well the vaccine is working is to monitor the HPV virus in healthy women and men in our community. The Information from this study will be used to determine the types of HPV virus that are present in the population and to understand the impact of the HPV vaccine in men and women in Australia. Overall 4,300 men and women aged 18 to 35 years will be asked to participate in this project at many clinics across Australia. This research has been funded by Commonwealth Government Department of Health.

The Natural History of Anal Human Papillomavirus infection in Mature Aged Homosexual Men (SPANC)

Principal Investigator: A/Prof Richard Hillman
The Natural History of Anal Human Papillomavirus infection in Mature Aged Homosexual Men (SPANC) WSSH Contact: A/Prof Richard Hillman richard.hillman@sydney.edu.au
Prospective cohort study of anal cancer precursors in 600 HIV positive and HIV negative gay men aged 35 or older at enrolment. All participants undergo anal cytology screening (anal “Pap smear”) high resolution anoscopy with biopsy if indicated, and testing for sexually transmissible disease at a total of 5 study visits over 3 years. At each visit, questionnaires are completed concerning risk factors for anal HPV infection and anal cancer, and on men’s experiences of the clinical procedures involved in anal cancer screening. A 6th visit has been included to provide study participants with the opportunity to discuss all study results and will take place 2 to 3 months after the 5th visit.

Predictors of Adherance to Antiretroviral Therapy (PAART)

Principal Investigator: Professor Andrew Carr
Predictors of Adherance to Antiretroviral Therapy (PAART) WSSH Contact: Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au
PAART (Predictors of Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy) is a two-year study designed to determine what factors (attitudes, beliefs, finances, health etc.) accompany that decision. Identifying these factors may help determine future policies to help more people living with HIV remain on their treatment.A collaboration between social and medical researchers, and state governments, the PAART study is being conducted at up to 20 sites across Australia. These sites will be a mix of HIV specialist clinics, sexual health clinics, hospital outpatient clinics, and GP clinics.

Screening for HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations

Principal Investigator: Lucette Cysique
Screening for HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations WSSH Contact: Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au
The broad aim of this project is to develop and validate a novel neuropsychological screening protocol for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in individuals from CALD communities in Australia. This involves the employment of an innovative electronic tablet (iPad) based screening tool and validation of a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery for HAND that is tailored to individuals from non-English speaking backgrounds with varying levels of education and literacy.

Control and Elimination within Australia of Hepatitis C from people Living with HIV (CEASE)

Principal Investigator: A/Prof Gail Matthews
Control and Elimination within Australia of Hepatitis C from people Living with HIV (CEASE) WSSH Contact: Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au
This project has four major components which will occur independently but are linked to the central theme of controlling and eliminating HCV infection from the majority of the Australian HIV positive population. Primary objective: To evaluate the feasibility of rapid scale-up of interferon-free DAA treatments and impact on the proportion with HCV viraemia within the HIV-HCV population of Australia.

Australian Development and Operationalisation of Partner Delivered Therapy (ADOPT)

Principal Investigator: A/Prof Rebecca Guy Dr Joanne Micallef
Australian Development and Operationalisation of Partner Delivered Therapy (ADOPT) WSSH Contact: Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au
The ADOPT project will look at the feasibility of PDPT for chlamydia as standard clinical practice. In the evaluation, ADOPT will also identify a potential PDPT model. At present the selected services in the study are Illawarra Sexual Health Centre, Liverpool Sexual Health Centre, Sydney Sexual Health and Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre. Patients eligible for PDPT are: Only patients with a laboratory diagnosis of oral-pharyngeal or ano-genital chlamydia. Heterosexual patients with partners who are unable or unlikely to seek clinical services in a timely manner.

Engaging Young People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds with Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Sydney, Australia

Engaging Young People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds with Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Sydney, Australia Principal Investigator: Professor Anthony Zwi
WSSH Contact: Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au

Studying the Interactions Between Pathogens and Immune Cells in Human Tissue and Blood

Studying the Interactions Between Pathogens and Immune Cells in Human Tissue and Blood Principal Investigator: Andrew Harman Kerrie Sandgren
WSSH Contact: Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au

T-cell Immunotherapy for Solid Cancers (POACH)

T-cell Immunotherapy for Solid Cancers (POACH) Principal Investigator: A/ Prof Richard Hillman
WSSH Contact: A/ Prof Richard Hillman richard.hillman@sydney.edu.au

National Cross Sectional Study of Women living with HIV in Australia

National Cross Sectional Study of Women living with HIV in Australia Principal Investigator:
WSSH Contact: Dr Catriona Ooi catriona.ooi@health.nsw.gov.au

The prevalence of Chlamydia among Pregnant Women of Tonga

The prevalence of Chlamydia among Pregnant Women of Tonga Principal Investigator: A/ Prof Richard Hillman
WSSH Contact: A/ Prof Richard Hillman richard.hillman@sydney.edu.au

Results of HIV sero-status disclosure and associated factors among HIV positive adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Results of HIV sero-status disclosure and associated factors among HIV positive adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Principal Investigator: A/ Prof Richard Hillman
WSSH Contact: A/ Prof Richard Hillman richard.hillman@sydney.edu.au

Research Projects - International

Western Sydney Sexual Health initiated Projects

Prevalence of HIV/ STI among women working in entertainment venues (parlours, karaoke, clubs and bars) in Jayapura, Indonesia Principal Investigator and Contact: Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au
Prevalence of HIV/ STI among women working in entertainment venues (parlours, karaoke, clubs and bars) in Jayapura, Indonesia Principal Investigator and Contact: Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au

Collaborative Projects

Genital tract inflammation test (GIFT) study

Principal Investigator: Jo-Ann Passmore, University of Cape Town

WSSHC Contact: Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au

The Aetiology of Sexually Transmitted Syndromes in Zimbabwe Principal Investigator:

Mufuta Tshimanga

Lead Consultant: Kees Rietmeijer

WSSHC Contact: Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au

Surveillance Projects

Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Surveillance of Sexually Transmissible Infections and Blood Borne Viruses (ACCESS) WSSHC Contact: Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au

The Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance of Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) – “ACCESS” – is a surveillance system that compiles data collected in three clinical and one laboratory network. These networks are:

  • Primary Health Clinic Network (including General Practices and Family Planning Clinics);
  • Laboratory Network;
  • Sexual Health Services Network; and
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Network.

Each of these networks collects information to describe patterns of BBV and STI testing and positivity in a range of priority populations, including: young heterosexuals, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, indigenous people and sex workers.

The BBVs and STIs that ACCESS collects information on include: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C (note: included infections vary by jurisdiction).

Website: http://www.access-study.org/
AHOD – Australian HIV Observational Database WSSHC Contact: Dr Deborah Couldwell deborah.couldwell@health.nsw.gov.au

An observational cohort study of HIV infected individuals attending specialised general practitioner sites, sexual health clinics and tertiary referral centres throughout Australia.

The primary objectives of the Australian HIV Observational Database are to monitor patterns of antiretroviral treatment use, including the efficacy of different treatment regimens, related to demographic factors and markers of HIV disease stage; patterns of toxicities/adverse events associated with antiretroviral treatment use, as well as to monitor HIV related and non-HIV related causes of death.

Website: http://kirby.unsw.edu.au/projects/australian-hiv-observational-database-ahod d

Industry Sponsored Trials

GEMINI 205543 WSSHC Contact: Professor David Lewis david.lewis2@sydney.edu.au