An early morning blog spawned by a salty dash of guilt for not having reported back much this time around and a state of not-being-able-to sleep.
This is the final day of the conference.
Last night a symposium was held that was organised by ASHM and supported by the Victorian Government: ‘Working towards AIDS 2014 in Melbourne: a partnership approach- symposium on priority issues in HIV.’ The meeting was chaired by Sharon Lewin and speakers were Gary Quinlan, Australia’s Ambassador to the UN, Tony Fauci, Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director, Program UNAIDS, Myron Cohen who led HPTN052, Dede Oetomo, Trustee of GAYaNUSANTARA, from Indonesia and the President of ASHM. The symposium tightly focused upon what might be deliverable over the next few years leading up to World AIDS 2014. Key messages included: 1. Paul De Lay: countries need to work quickly and efficiently to meet the targets set by UNAIDS in 2011; 2. Tony Fauci: we can have an AIDS-free generation using HIV prevention and treatment without necessarily having a cure and vice versa; also he cautioned against us conceptualizing that we have ended the scientific era and that we are now entering the implementation era as he believes that a number of important scientific discoveries lie ahead of us in HIV medicine; 3. Myron Cohen: new, promising agents for HIV prevention are in view including long-acting injectable drugs and cervical rings for PrEP and data on these should be available in 2014; 4. Dede Oetomo: we need to continue to use social science to understand the cultural and sociological/ anthropological aspects of human behaviour in order to make any roll out of HIV care and treatment effective. 5. ASHM President: future challenges for managing the HIV epidemic in the Asia Pacific region include increasing country ownership of the HIV response, ongoing decriminalization to end discrimination against MSM, people who inject drugs, sex workers and transgender people, the need for high quality home-based HIV testing and linkage of HIV care with diagnosis and management of non-AIDS illnesses.
We really look forward to a great World AIDS Asia Pacific regional conference in Melbourne 2014.