How do you summarise such a comprehensive and jam packed conference into one post?!
I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the great presentations and seeing such wonderful colleagues from around the world share their research to everyone.
Some of the main highlights for me were the Doxycycline as prevention plenary which had a great discussion post presentation from a lot of clinicians around the world, but overall good to see the willingness to possibly adopt a new strategy with condom-less STI prevention.
I engaged in Twitter posts throughout this conference (NB: #stirio2017 was the second most trending tag in Brazil), which I noted was quite popular among a lot of speakers and presenters to share information back home. Even seeing some of my tweets liked or re-tweeted by people from BASH or the Lancet was great to see how quickly the sharing of information between colleagues can happen. This was an exciting approach to disseminating conference material for those who couldn’t attend.
A common theme I found was discussions around the antibiotic resistance in Mycoplasma and Gonorrhoea, and how appropriate testing and prescribing practices, specifically around not using Azithromycin with rectal chlamydia are really important to bring inline uniformity to treating as based on the WHO treatment guidelines.
PrEP implementations are varied worldwide, and you can see how much funding and stigma around getting TDF/FTC out to communities is quite difficult in different political landscapes. There were so many posters presented and some great questions were posed around PrEP in relation to STI’s and Hepatitis C.
One of the final presentations from Tetyana Vasylyeva (Ukraine) was quite moving considering the research was based on changing opinions on HIV prevention in the landscape of countries facing war. With a high amount of IVDU and a cut on all methadone programs at the time of the civil unrest in Ukraine, larger numbers of migration changes into already high prevalence areas without primary health resources, are increasing risk of HIV transmission.
Currently in Ukraine they have over 220 000 known HIV + people with only 28% ARV coverage. Post war data showed over 1.7million people are currently displaced and with migration patterns changing, and cuts to public health funding this is making ARV programs difficult to sustain.
I had hoped to catch up with Tetyana after the talk to ask more questions but like others, most people were running between rooms to catch different talks.
I've also attached some of the posters I enjoyed reading as well.
I am so humbled and honored to have been selected as a scholarship recipient for ASHM, it has enhanced my knowledge significantly and after seeing a large number of clinicians in Rio, I hope further sexual health nursing members are able to attend in the future to bring relevant information back to their colleagues.