Monday, 22 August 2016

International AIDS Conference 2016: Thursday 21st July

Day 4. Up at 6.45am and delighted that internet is back on. I shower and have a glass of fruit juice. Tum has kept me up half of the night and I throw up the juice. I decide not to have any breakfast but tentatively have some toast. Thankfully it stays down. It is yet another beautiful sunny day. Rolande and I take an easy walk down the road to get a taxi to the ICC for R5 each.  As she chats to me I pay more attention this time lol. When we get there I am dying of thirst and have 3 cups from the water cooler. Rolande goes off to meet some people and says we will get together at 5pm. Fine.

My first session of the day was in room 5 at 1-2pm for an event called 'HIV exposure: How does it affect children?'

 The first speaker was Jean Liedner from the US. She studied pregnant women who were both affected and unaffected by HIV. Those affected by HIV tended to have more depression and come from low socio-economic backgrounds. There were no significant developmental differences.

The second speaker was Michael Boivin from Michigan State University talking about 'Neurodevelopment of ugandan and malawian promise HIV unexposed uninfected children'.

 The next speaker was Rachael Vreeman of Indiana University, US.

Malnutritional leads to increased mortality and morbidity. This was found to be 45 months in 14k children.


The next speaker from central Kenya was Njambi Njuguna

He spoke about 'Drivers, Barriers and consequences of HIV disclosure to HIV infected children aged 9-14 years old. 
 Next up was Edith Majona from the London School of Tropical Medicine. 

There are also complications from Lymes disease and cardiac disease as well as left heart abnormalities.

The Final speaker was Thanyawee Puthanakit from Thailand.

A Q & A followed.

The next event I went to at 2.30-5pm was called: 'Responsible reporting vs sensationalising HIV & AIDS in the media' This was an advanced level event in room 9. I had only been sat down for a moment when I realised this was the wrong event. This was an interactive event involving moving around discussing posters. I left and found that there had been a room change so I headed to room 13. This of course means that myself and others missed the start of this event.

First up was Kay Marshall taking about the complicated
science of HIV.

 She said that journalists do get it wrong because they don't know the subject and so it can lead to sensationalism. She also said that scientists shouldn't just give the press release to the journalists, they should meet up and explain it. Also let other scientists read it too so as to decrease any bias. Don't forget non-scientists as well. Remember to thank reporters when they get it right. NGO's usually waste time on PR using celebrities. 
Each presentation here would finish with a question for the audience which generates a discussion. A great idea for this subject I think. Kays question was 'How can researchers, advocates and the media work together to ensure accurate scientific reporting?'


The next speaker was Ana P. Santos who talked about HIV Phillipines-State of emergency.                                             
This is a very catholic country where nobody talks about sex. There are 33000 infections and 505 related deaths in a day since gaining a new president. Also drug pushers and injectors too. So HIV stories in the media had to be put on hold. How to tell stories of the vunerable whilst protecting their identity's. Write that you are censored and not allowed to write the truth. In other words, use Catholism against them.

 The last speaker Michael Friedman was a documentary maker in the Soviet Union and he spoke about: Modern Technology and how to make it work. This was a longer talk but it held my interest throughout. He showed alot of photos with powerful tales accompanying them. He said that reporting had never been better because everything is now connected.

Taken in January 2015. A single mum whose husband had died.
 This 42 year old woman died 4 months after this photo was taken, her kids died abit later.

 This image was sold to Lockheed Martin who added a caption and some smoke. At the end his question was 'how to better use technology to sell stories?' As a science communicator, I found this interesting.
 Afterwards I go to the Global Village. Having felt hungry for some time I head to the eating area and have a can of grape Fanta and a nice cheese and tomato sandwich which I get from the healthy eating stall. It does the trick. I walk back outside to meet Rolande. We get the shuttle bus to our lodge and I find myself sat between two lovely ugandan women. We have a nice chat for the whole ride. I tell them my workplace does visit Uganda once a year to help the people there out. I spend most of the evening on my pc as the internet is so slow. Then decide to have an early night. My last full day at the conference already.

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