VHHITAL

VHHITAL is the Victorian HIV and Hepatitis Integrated Training And Learning program.

What is VHHITAL?

VHHITAL delivers comprehensive education and training for the primary health care workforce for the diagnosis, treatment and management of HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections (STI).

It includes the provision of training and certification for practitioners who prescribe highly specialised drugs administered under Section 100 (S100) of the National Health Act 1953.

The program aims to:

    • improve the capacity of the general practice workforce to screen, treat and manage HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and STIs
    • improve alignment of general practitioners with priority populations and areas of high prevalence for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and STIs
    • improve access to community testing and prescribing for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and STIs
    • improve networking opportunities for prescribers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyheC6HNwpA
VHHITAL's response to the syphilis epidemic in Victoria.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5RJ3xfwk1U
If GPs can recognise the signs of potential HIV infection, they'll test for HIV. This will mean more people get access to better care, earlier.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkqowAsqFGU
Not enough people living with hepatitis B are receiving the treatment they need – and many are undiagnosed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZF30rpdpow
Watch this video to learn more about VHHITAL.

VHHITAL events

VHHITAL training is delivered throughout Victoria. To find out about upcoming events, sign up to the VHHITAL mailing list by emailing vhhital@nwmphn.org.au, or see the events calendars below.

View upcoming VHHITAL events

View the statewide BBV and STI events calendar

Training primer to help curb STIs in Victoria

General practice has a key role in helping to prevent STIs, especially congenital syphilis, spreading in the community. The ‘Getting to know congenital syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia/MG’ set of videos are funded by the Victorian Government to raise awareness of the current outbreak of STIs in Victoria.

These videos highlight the issues, signs, symptoms, tips, treatments and management of three STIs as part of everyday practice, and aim to encourage practices to register for further training in sexual health.

VHHITAL runs CPD accredited training including a 90-minute sexual health essentials course, and advanced courses in syphilis, HIV and hepatitis. Participants registered for these courses will be asked to watch the STI videos as an introduction to the training.

Watch the STI videos below or to register for VHHITAL’s STI education visit our education and training page.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E15xvgQ2uEs
Getting to know chlamydia and Mycoplasma genitalium in general practice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0xFRU9D8Kk
Getting to know congenital syphilis in general practice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m66hvygBRew
Getting to know gonorrhoea in general practice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UuUYvbbN_4
Congenital syphilis: responding to the Victorian Chief Health Officer Alert

The VHHITAL Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice (CoP) provide opportunities for learning, networking and collaboration for all primary health care practitioners. If you are interested, VHHITAL have 2 CoPs coming up in 2022. 

  • The STI CoP will be facilitated by Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and affiliated GP practices. Register your interest on this survey
  • The Hep C CoP will be run in collaboration with the Integrated Hepatitis C Nurses Group, and facilitated by Associate Professor Joe Sasadeusz.

Contact the VHHITAL team to find out more: vhhital@nwmphn.org.au 

VHHITAL Courses

  • STI Essentials for Primary Care

    Over the past 10 years in Victoria rates of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea have all increased, and primary health care practitioners are the key to bringing these epidemics under control.  STIs are not always visible, but can cause severe health problems if left undiagnosed and untreated. 

    This informative and interactive session provides the understanding and tools to confidently manage common STI screening and care, making sexual health a routine everyday part of your primary health care practice. The option of referring complex cases and receiving other supports from the new sexual health sentinel clinics will be highlighted.  

    Learning outcomes: 

    • Improved understanding of sexual health care for young people, pregnant women and other key populations. 
    • Know how to approach taking a sexual history. 
    • Be able to describe the clinical presentation of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis. 
    • Be able to correctly perform comprehensive sexual health screening, including testing for the most common STIs.
    • Manage treatment, contact tracing and, if necessary, referrals using the Health Pathways tool. 

    Format: Online, 2 hours.

    Presenter & Facilitator: Dr Melanie Bissessor, Sexual Health Physician, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.

    Learning Methods: Presentation, case discussion, Q&A.

    Continuing Professional Development: 4 x RACGP CPD Activity/2 x ACRRM PDP points. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance. 

  • Syphilis Advanced Webinar for Primary Care

    Infectious syphilis has significantly increased in Victoria over the past decade. There were 298 cases in 2010 but the rate is now close to 2,000. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men continue to make up the volume of cases.  

    Most concerning are increases observed in: 

    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
    • Heterosexual men and women
    • Women of childbearing age & those pregnant at time of diagnosis
    • Re-emergence of congenital syphilis from 2017 onward
    • Mildura LGA remains closely monitored. Due to the increases in cases in heterosexuals the outer North West, Western, and South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne have become STI hotspots.   

    This course builds on VHHITAL’s STI Essentials course and provides skills and resources for primary health care practitioners to confidently implement guideline-based management of patients diagnosed with syphilis, improving patient outcomes. Course numbers are limited to maximise participation in the case study discussions.  

    Learning outcomes: 

    • Understand and reinforce that sexual health is everyday routine business for primary care. 
    • Describe the clinical presentation of primary, secondary and latent syphilis. 
    • Correctly perform testing for syphilis. 
    • Implement guideline-based management of patients diagnosed with syphilis. 
    • Recap contact tracing and its key role in managing STIs. 
    • Apply learning in case study discussions. 

    Presenter & Facilitator: Dr Melanie Bissessor, sexual health physician, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Health.

    Format: Online, 2 hours. 

    Learning Methods: Presentation, case discussion, Q&A. 

    Continuing Professional Development: 4 x RACGP CPD Activity/2 x ACRRM PDP points. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance. 

  • Treatment of Antimicrobial Resistant STIs: gonorrhoea, mycoplasma genitalium & others

    Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) and gonorrhoea are relatively common in Australia. Both have developed antimicrobial resistance in recent years, rendering them increasingly difficult to treat. This course delves into treating them and other evolving drug-resistant STIs. 

    Learning outcomes are under development.  

    Register your interest in attending this course by emailing  

    vhhital@nwmphn.org.au 

    Format: Online, 2 hours. 

    Learning Methods: Presentation, case discussion, Q&A. 

    Presenter & Facilitator: Dr Melanie Bissessor, Sexual Health Physician, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre. 

    Continuing Professional Development: Accreditation with RACGP is underway. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance. 

  • PrEP & HIV Essentials for Primary Care

    Pre-Exposure Prophyslaxis (PrEP) is an effective HIV prevention strategy in high demand within the community. On April 1st 2018, PrEP was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as a general schedule s85 item. GPs and nurse practitioners can prescribe it, and community pharmacies are able to dispense it.  

    This session will guide you on which populations the treatment is suitable for, and how to initiate it with ease.

    Learning outcomes: 

    • Describe different HIV prevention strategies​. 
    • Explain different options for PrEP dosing​. 
    • Use the PrEP decision-making tool to manage patients.​ 
    • Explain the effectiveness and appropriate use of PrEP/PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) to patients. 

    Format: Online, 2 hours. 

    Continuing Professional Development: 4 x RACGP CPD Activity/2 x ACRRM PDP points. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance.  

  • Viral Hepatitis Essentials for Primary Care

    This informative and interactive Viral Hepatitis Essentials training improves the knowledge, skills and confidence of primary health care providers to effectively screen, treat and manage patients with hepatitis B or C. It will assist clinicians to confidently interpret viral hepatitis test results, understand the treatment and referral options for management, and inform GPs and nurse practitioners how to become an HBV s100 prescriber. 

    Learning outcomes: 

    • Describe the role of primary health care in the management of viral hepatitis. 
    • Accurately determine at risk patients and screen for viral hepatitis. 
    • Confidently interpret viral hepatitis test results and discuss the treatment and referral options for the management of viral hepatitis. 
    • Discuss with patients the viral hepatitis treatment options and importance of regular monitoring. 

    Presenters: 

    Dr Lester Mascarenhas, an experienced GP hepatitis B s100 prescriber with extensive experience and passion for refugee health. He is the founder of the Utopia Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health Clinic in Hoppers Crossing. He also works at cohealth Laverton and Your Community Health. 

    AND 

    Jacqui Richmond has worked in viral hepatitis for 19 years in nursing, education, social and health services research, and policy development. She currently works at La Trobe University as a Research Fellow and the Burnet Institute as the Education Coordinator for the Eliminate Hepatitis C Partnership. Her focus is on building the health workforce capacity around treating and managing viral hepatitis.  

    OR 

    Matt Penn, HIV and hepatitis B GP s100 prescriber at North Richmond Community Health. 

    Format: Online, 2-hour session. 

    Continuing Professional Development: 4 x RACGP CPD Activity/2 x ACRRM PDP points. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance.  

  • By Nurses for Nurses - Hepatitis C

    Nurses have an important role ensuring improved health outcomes for people with hepatitis C (HCV). This live online training course provides nurses with skills and confidence to support individuals and their families in the clinical management of HCV. 

    Learning outcomes: 

    • Describe risk factors for HCV, enabling discussions with patients around prevention.  
    • Discuss HCV serology to identify opportunities for screening, testing and linkage-to-care.  
    • Explain the nurse’s role in providing culturally appropriate care, free from stigma and discrimination, to people from priority populations.  
    • Explain the nurse’s role in the management of chronic HCV, advanced liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma.  
    • Outline strategies for supporting patients with medication adherence. 

    Format: Online, over 2 sessions.  

    Accreditation: 

    This course is endorsed by ACN Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Endorsed Course Standards. It has been allocated 6.5 CPD hours according to the Nursing and Midwifery Boards of Australia Continuing Professional Development Standard.  

    Presenters:  

    Jacqui Richmond PhD works at St Vincent’s Hospital as the Victorian viral hepatitis education facilitator and at the Burnet Institute as program manager for the Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia partnership. Her focus is on building health workforce capacity around treating and managing viral hepatitis.

  • Hepatitis B s100 Prescriber Course

    Advanced level training that enables Victorian GPs and nurse practitioners to effectively diagnose, manage and treat chronic hepatitis B in primary care settings. Successful completion of the training and assessment accredits community-based medical practitioners to prescribe s100 highly specialised drugs for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. 

    Learning outcomes: 

    • Outline the critical role of primary care in the diagnosis, management and treatment of people living with chronic hepatitis B. ​ 
    • Plan long-term care, including guideline-based monitoring and hepatocellular carcinoma screening, for patients with chronic hepatitis B. ​ 
    • Select and prescribe first-line antiviral treatment when clinically indicated. ​ 
    • Identify situations where specialist advice or referral is required. 
    • Integrate principles of person-centred and culturally competent care into hepatitis B management. 

    This course is in high demand and places are limited. By agreeing to register you agree to also gain HBV s100 accreditation, and can commit to attending all the live sessions and course work.

    Format: Online, over 3 weeks. 

    Requirements

    Prior to the course: 

    • Pre-course survey (10 minutes to complete) 
    • Hepatitis B introductory online modules (about 1 hour to complete).

    During the course: 

    • Completion of pre-recorded video modules. Between each webinar, 30-minute video lectures are available for participants to watch in their own time. The interactive webinar activities are based on content these lectures. 
    • Live webinars. Attending three webinars is compulsory for completion of the course and to receive accreditation.  
    • Completion of assignment. One assignment, which contains a case study, must be completed during the course. It takes about 30 minutes.  

    After the course: 

    A post-course online assessment and survey must be completed to become an accredited hepatitis B s100 prescriber. This comprises 30 case-based multiple choice questions.   

    Presenters:  

    VHHITAL has a faculty of specialists and general practitioner trainers for its hepatitis B prescriber course, including Professor Ben Cowie, Dr Nicole Allard and Dr Lester Mascarenhas.  

    Continuing Professional Development: 

    This activity is accredited for 40 RACGP CPD Accredited Activity points, approved for 7 educational activity PDP units and 2 performance review PDP units by ACRRM, and is accredited by ACNP for professional development. 

  • HIV s100 Prescriber Course

    This course is designed to support GPs and nurse practitioners in managing and treating HIV in the general practice setting, providing the opportunity to establish relationships with local specialist services for ongoing mentoring and referral. Upon successful completion of this training and the associated assessment, you may apply to your relevant state department of health for authority to prescribe section 100 drugs for the management of HIV in Australia.  

    This course is in high demand and places are limited. We kindly ask that you only register if you intend to gain HIV s100 accreditation and can commit to attending all the live sessions and the course work. 

    This course is in high demand and places are limited. By agreeing to register you agree to also gain HBV s100 accreditation, and can commit to attending all the live sessions and course work.

    Learning outcomes: 

    • Describe the principles of initiation of antiretroviral therapy.
    • Evaluate the complexity of factors influencing patients’ treatment decisions.
    • Develop a clinical management plan for a patient on therapy, incorporating strategies for health promotion and harm minimisation.
    • Describe the contributing factors to the development of treatment toxicities and antiretroviral resistance.
    • Identify appropriate referral pathways for complex HIV issues including salvage therapy, women considering pregnancy and IRIS.

    Format: Online, over 4 weeks. 

    Requirements:

    • Pre-course activity. Multiple choice questionnaire (mandatory, taking about 8 minutes). 
    • Introduction to HIV online learning modules. Self-paced online learning modules (mandatory, about 3 hours). 
    • HIV Prevention, video module. Online video presentation (mandatory, about one hour). 
    • Australian PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) Guidelines. Pre-reading in preparation for week one case discussion (optional, about one hour). 

    During the course: 

    • Completion of pre-recorded video modules. Each week, video lectures lasting between 1.5 and 2 hours will be available for participants to watch in their own time. The interactive webinar activities will be based on content from these lectures. 
    • Live webinars. Attending of 4 live webinars is compulsory for successful completion of the course.
    • Completion of assignments. Two 30-minute case study assignments must be completed during the course. 

    After the course: 

    A post-course online assessment comprising multiple choice questions must be completed to become an accredited HIV s100 prescriber. 

    Presenters:  

    VHHITAL has a faculty of highly experienced specialists and general practitioner trainers for our HIV s100 prescriber course, including Dr Olga Vujovic, Dr Matt Penn, Dr David Griffin and Professor Jenny Hoy.  

    Continuing Professional Development: 

    This activity is accredited for 40 RACGP CPD Accredited Activity points, approved for 7 educational activity PDP units and 2 performance review PDP units by ACRRM, and is accredited by ACNP for professional development. 

Resources

  • LiverWell app and PozQOL Scale

    Tools for wellbeing for people with blood-borne viruses. Find out all you need to know about the new tools that empower people with chronic conditions to engage with their self-monitoring and health maintenance.

    See here.

  • Online Learning Modules

    A free online learning portal containing an extensive library of self-paced courses from ASHM.

    View online modules

     

  • Hepatitis B and HIV Community Prescribers - VIC

Consortium partners

The consortium provides GPs with the skills and resources of clinical subject-matter experts, research expertise, program development and accreditation, training and education, and expert knowledge of the health needs of Victorians living with, or at risk of contracting, blood-borne viruses (BBV).

The program is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, and is delivered and managed through a consortium comprising North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN), the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), Alfred Health, and the Doherty Institute.