Saturday, 20 August 2016

International AIDS Conference 2016: Tuesday 19th July

Day 2. Out of bed at 6.45am again. Shower and hair wash for me. Rolande borrows my Mac again and our first conference event today is at 11am. There is alot going on today and alot to potentially see but as I can't be 2 places at once I need to make a choice. I decide to go with the talks where I can learn alot of HIV science. Rolande is happy to go with whatever I decide. We find ourselves in room 11 for an event entitled PrEP: New drugs, new questions where I learn that according to the World Health Organisation, there are 24000 new child HIV infections per year.

The first speaker was Dr E. Brocco-Cofano from the University of Pittsburgh talking about a study on 6 month old macaques looking at the study of the drug Maraviroc.

The second speaker was Dr Roy Gulich from the University of Rochester, US,  also speaking about a study involving Maraviroc. This time on a cohort of US women.

The next speaker was Dr Ian McGowan from the University of Pittsburg talking about ART persistence.

 Next up was Dr Robert Grant of The Gladstone Institute. He gave a Systematic Review of drug resistance.

The final speaker of this session at Noon was Dr Liz Brown from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre talking about Vaginal rings with dapivirine.

The next session I attended in Session room 7 was from 1pm until 2pm. There were also 5 speakers at this 1 hour event so it was a quick paced session. This event was called: 'HIV drug resistance-is it time to worry?'

First speaker was Dr Diego Martin-Cecchini from University of Argentinatalking about HIV prevalence in pregnant women in Buenos Aires. An interesting comparison of 2 time periods 2008-2011 and 2014-2015.

 Speaker number 2 was Steven Hong from Tufts Medical Centre in the US. He spoke of a WHO public health strategy to deal with drug resistance. This study took place in Namibia.

 Next up at 1.30pm was Birgit Schramm from Medicins Sans Frontieres, Paris. She spoke about drug resistance and virological failure.

The next speaker was Jennifer Thompson from University College London. She spoke of the effectiveness of PI resistance mutations on viral load. I'm not sure what PI resistance mutations are and don't glean anything about it from the context here. Something to google later.

The final speaker of this session was Santiago Moreno, University Hospital, Spain. His talk was about DTG plus RPV in suppressed heavily pretreated HIV patients. 

Next I went to a special 1 hour session in room 1 which began at 2.30pm and was co-chaired by the one and only Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Abdool-Karim. This session was entitled 'New evidence: Why do young women in Africa have huge rates of HIV infection?'

 The first speaker was Dr Abdool-Karim talking about why there is more HIV amongst women than men.


The next speaker was Dr Tuli De Oliveria. 'Who is infecting who?' His talk was abit longer than the rest of the ones we've heard today and he discussed the prevalence of HIV in various age groups and age differences amongst partners.

The next talk was given by 2 speakers from the University of Washington. Dr Jo-Ann Passmore and Dr Brent Williams talking about the role of vaginal microbiotica in genital inflammation.

Another great pairing of speakers next who gave an interesting and related talk about the effects of Tenofovir on Lactobacillus or Gardnerella. It seems that an increase in the population of Lactobacillus could decrease infection. Dr Adam Burgener from Canada's University of Manitoba and Dr Nichole Klatt from University of Washington. 

Lastly Dr Salim Karim from the Centre of AIDS Research in South Africa Spoke about the implications of the new evidence.

Men in their thirties with a high viral load are passing the HIV onto very young women. 

The next session and the final one for me takes place in room 12 and takes place from 4.30pm-6pm.
It is entitled 'Synergystic epidemics: New Drugs, new challenges' and is hosted by Gerry Friedland and Jurgen Rockstroh. There are 5 presentations.

First on the podium this afternoon was Francois Venter from the Wits Reproductive health and HIV Institute, South Africa,  talking about 'Innovations in HIV treatment and what the future holds'.

 The second speaker was Jurgen Rockstroh from University Hospital, Bonn, Germany. He spoke about 'Innovations in HCV treatments. What the Future Holds'.

The third speaker was Chandraseharan Padmapryadarsini from the Indian Council of Medical Research. She talked about 'Innovations in TB Research: What the Future Holds'.
She said that HIV and TB are partners in crime and that HIV goes some way to curbing TB. Tuberculosis is still everywhere even though there are cheap and effective drugs on the market.

The 4th speaker is Paul Stoffels from Johnson and Johnson. He talks about the development of new HIV drugs and informed us that there are 2 million infections per year!

The final Speaker James Packard-Lane had no slides but told us about DC linkage and the high prices which come with it. I still have no idea what DC linkages are. Another for google.
I really really enjoyed this session it was so interesting and accessible to everyone, not just scientists. Good science communicators here I think. So I think it had a great Q&A to finish off with as well.
A quick look around the Global Village befoe going back to our lodge is a nice way to stretch the legs and end the day. We see the 'Solidaritree' again and now it is in full bloom. I am assured the ribbon I left will still be on there. I am pleased to buy myself a beaded red ribbon badge for a mere R10, i.e. 50p. We get our shuttle bus to drop us off at our local supermarket. I fancy something sweet and buy a museli yoghurt, Twix and a bottle of mango juice too. Also a packet of cheese and onion crisps. Iam astounded at how cheap everything is. The juice was £1 but everything else I bought was 25p. We walked to our lodge and it is a nice warm sunny evening, no wind. Once settled I drink the juice and eat the crisps which were very tasty, enjoyed them alot and wish I'd bought more packets. After watching some news this is a relatively early night, lights out at 9.30pm.

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