ASHM Report Back
Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.
WAVE (Women Against Viruses in Europe) Workshop
Day 1 @ #EACS2017 did not disappoint! Much like colourful displays of gelato in Milan’s exquisite restaurants the conference proved to be a veritable feast of tasty information and similar to the difficulty in picking your ice cream flavour so was the conundrum of choosing what session to attend!
To begin the day I started at the WAVE (Women Against Viruses in Europe) Workshop. I listened to a very empowering speech given by Justyna Kopeć a Polish lady diagnosed with HIV 20 years ago who’s talk was entitled “The longest relationship I ever had”. She highlighted at least 3 occasions when her diagnosis was missed between 1993 and 1997 which included participating in an anonymous HIV testing at university in which she did not collect her result, vising the gynaecologist with several recurrent vaginal infections and a GP visit for continued weight loss without dieting. She talked about her journey of hope as new drugs came on the market at the time of her diagnoses, fear of dying, fear of treatment, fear of a daily routine, and trust in her doctors, trust in her family and friends and trust in science and in patient centred care. She also talked about the changes over time for young women newly diagnosed in today's era in terms of pregnancy and living long enough to watch those children grow. This session was a great reminder that HIV can affect anyone. As a nurse I often see clients for HPV wart treatments and other symptoms such as vaginal candida and it reminded me of the importance of thinking of underlying reasons for persisting infections, accurate history taking (as people are transient between services and indeed countries) and not to overlook HIV as a possibility for someone who is not in the forefront of my mind as “high risk”. Justyna closed with the statement “HIV testing should be a standard procedure among ALL sexually active people”.
Please also see the post from Emma Clements