A report on the Opening Plenary, delivered by Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Professor Matthew Golden, and Associate Professor Carmen Logie.
In this plenary, three presenters from three countries discussed how to make approaches to HIV and other STI programs workk in specific populations.
Whilst didactic approaches to populations with good levels of literacy might be effective in certain circumstances, many other groups require different approaches. Hard to reach populations require innovation and dedication and may be far more labour intensive to ensure enrolment in, and maintainance of, programs. Programs that have failed to attract certain clients will continue to fail to attract these clients. What is needed is a different program and not a repetition of the existing program.
Developing understandings of diverse cultural groups can ensure that Practitioners can gain trust with their patients, which can help empower them to make decisions that impact their health positively. Aspects to be considered range from communication methods, including availability to care in their own language and the physical materials used, to practical logistic considerations such as provision of transport to access testing or treatment. Services may need to be free or nearly free and there must be consideration about longer-term sustainability.