Friday, 27 July 2012

HIV in Asia - Transforming the agenda for 2012 and beyond

Members of Alliance India before the
conference. Photo courtesy of AIDS 2012.
The HIV in Asia - Transforming the agenda for 2012 and beyond report into the effectiveness of HIV response in Asia was officially launched on Tuesday night at AIDS 2012. The report was co-commissioned by AusAID and UNAIDS.

Peter Godwin, one of the authors, explained that the report reviewed several countries across the region, and conducted over 100 interviews.

Key findings included the need to re-assess the model of the HIV response as it currently operates across much of Asia.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

24 July: Tuesday (Post) Exposure

Edwina Wright and Dean Murphy
For me, Tuesday was particularly exciting because there were many sessions on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. In anticipation of this I breakfasted with Edwina Wright, ASHM president, with whom I had been working to develop a proposal to study how PrEP might be implemented in Australia.

A new terminology has entered PrEP discourse, which relates to 'seasonal' use. Seasonal use refers to using PrEP for limited periods—months or weeks—at times of greatest risk or need. Such sporadic use raises concerns about drug resistance and onward transmission of drug resistance. So there is a need for PrEP users to be aware of the symptoms of HIV seroconversion.

Opening Plenary - AIDS 2012

Hillary Clinton addresses the conference.
© IAS/Ryan Rayburn -
The start of AIDS 2012 has been stimulating and thought-provoking. The opening plenary on Monday morning attracted many important speakers, the most well-known being US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. To a rapturous welcome she described the great strides that have been made in the global fight against HIV – highlighting the US' efforts both domestically and internationally.

As would be expected from any sitting politician, she highlighted progress made by her government in addressing HIV. She identified the recently up-held Affordable Care Act, which for the first time will prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, as well as stop insurance companies from capping the amount in dollars that people receive. She also cited the new US National HIV Strategy.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Framework for country-level PrEP demonstration projects being developed

Now that there is evidence of the efficacy of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) we need to determine the best way to deliver PrEP in the 'real world' and to gather evidence of its effectiveness from countries where it is rolled out. At a meeting organised by the World Health Organisation and attended by the UNAIDS, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), US government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the investigators of the PrEP studies, participants started developing a country-level protocol development framework for PrEP demonstration projects.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Going social

Social media & Web 2.0 are now such a ‘given’ in health promotion and HIV prevention work that having a session dedicated to social media at a conference almost becomes redundant. The recent AFAO/NAPWA Gay Men’s Health Promotion Conference was no exception, with social media and the web ubiquitous throughout the program.

A number of presentations – such as Carlos Sepulvada’s Down an’ dirty presentation, or Nadine Toussaint’s 1 Community – described how interactive websites, Facebook, and other online strategies contributed to community engagement and effective promotion of key messages. Often, as in the case of the 1 Community anti-stigma campaign, the online component was carefully integrated with offline activities.