What an amazing three days I’ve had in Hong Kong at the APACC 2018 conference, learning about the current thinking in prevention, treatment and future of HIV and co-infections in the Asia Pacific region. I’m very thankful to ASHM for awarding me a scholarship to attend the conference, which has given me so much to take back to Melbourne to discuss. Although my first-time blogging attempts may not completely reflect it, we heard and learned from some very passionate and forward thinking speakers who presented their research in HIV and Hepatitis.
A/Prof Gail Matthews, Kirby Institute, UNSW, Australia
Elimination is reduction in incidence and related mortality to a level that are no longer a public health concern. A/Prof Matthews describes a number of ways in which clinicians can and do contribute directly to this aim. According to A/Prof Kirby, 9 countries are on track to meet targets, Australia is lucky to be one of them. She identified an increasing prescriber base with no need for specialists in most cases.
As a conclusion to the APACC 2018 conference, this discussion was a fantastic example of the learning that can happen when clinicians, researchers, advocates and PLHIV come together and share their work and ideas.
Why we need KPLHS to end AIDS in the Asia Pacific
Michael Cassell FHI 360 Thailand
I am aware of some social media and mHealth interventions being implemented in Australia, but I had no idea of the enormity of the potential impact, and the range of ways in which these technologies can be used for HIV prevention, management, and improvement in quality of life for people who are HIV positive. It was mind-blowing to hear from one of the presenters that more than 1 billion people are active social media users, and how that reach can be optimised for the benefit of those at risk of or diagnosed with HIV. I found this fascinating, as like many clinicians, I have imagined social media to be helpful, but no idea how it can be harnessed, or whether there is actual evidence for its efficacy.
By Polin Chan, WHO
Polin’s presentation was an important insight into the development of guidelines in general – why they are important, what is included in them, and why we can trust them to direct our clinical practice.
Jose Gatell, Senior Medical Director ViiV Healthcare University of Barcelona, Spain
Jose Gatell’s presentation on the history, current status and future of managing HIV positive patients was a fascinating insight into how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. Luckily, with an engaging and interactive presentation, he gives us hope that we’ll get there!
Carol Khaw’s presentation on the first Australian study of Chemsex was a crucial step in understanding this important issue in this region. Most of our existing knowledge is based on UK research, and it is yet to be taken further in Australia. Based in South Australia, this important clinic based questionnaire study aimed to determine:
It was an inspiring start to the 2018 APACC conference, with the first session foreshadowing conference highlights, and paying tribute to Professor David Cooper, who contributed so enormously to the field and the APACC conference itself.