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Dear HIV Clinicians,
Our second HIV Clinicians conference held in September 2014 was a resounding success. There were almost 1000 delegates who attended from all walks of HIV care, prevention and treatment clinicians.
Again, we tried to cater for everyone who works in the field. I was amazed that, even on the public holiday, the plenary session was almost full of people wanting to hear about the elimination of TB. This was followed by an exhausting few days of intense academic presentations, practical skills development and hearty debates and discussions. In addition to the formal meeting, I met new colleagues and reconnected with old ones.
So in 2016, we will be holding the third Southern African HIV Clinicians Society conference. Our conference chair, Prof Yunus Moosa has taken up the challenge to make this conference as action packed as the last. It may seem like a long time away but put the dates in your calendar because before you know it, it will be here.
Dr Francesca Conradie
The war against HIV has been marked by several battles. Many have led to resounding victories, others to marginal success and some to dismal failures. The unrelenting resilience of the scientific world is never deterred or discouraged by lack of success but is instead, spurred to greater heights, to meet each problem with ingenious solutions that might appear impossible today. Hence a vaccine and / or a cure may not be as far off as it might seem today.
Phenomenal advances in therapeutics has converted HIV from a death sentence to a chronic disease with a near normal life expectancy. This comes with particular challenges for patients, health care workers, communities, clinics, hospitals and health systems. Responsibility for success lies with regional and national departments of health and governments with civil society, concerned health care organisations and the international community at large holding them to account.
Meeting the challenge of maintaining a continuous and efficient supply of medication to a large population by highly trained health care workers, using laboratory tests responsibly for monitoring toxicity and treatment failure, in a population expected to maintain a greater than 90% adherence is a tall order. However, failure is not an option. This conference will focus on serious debate and discussion around the possible inclusion of newer classes of anti-retroviral agents in the current therapeutic armamentarium, creating a standard of care for non-AIDS complications of HIV, highlighting the need for rapid recognition and management of opportunistic infections and HIV associated malignancies, recognising novel methods of measuring and improving adherence, creating awareness around efficient means of delivering medication that is least disruptive of the patients routine and debating ethical issues around the responsibility of health care workers to colleagues and patients, to name a few. Local and international experts in their field are invited to generate, drive and guide discussions around these and many more topics. The conference will cater for all levels of health care workers from counsellors to nurses to HIV specialists.
The 2016 conference will be held at one of Southern Africa’s leading meeting venues, the Sandton Convention Centre, situated at the heart of the Sandton metropolis in Johannesburg. Conveniently located close to the Gautrain station, with easy access via highways that link Johannesburg and Pretoria; and a host of hotel options in close proximity for out-of-towners.
In addition to an exhilarating academic agenda, we look forward to creating a stimulating and relaxing environment to allow for networking, bonding, and sharing of experiences with others. We look forward to seeing all of you at the conference.
Prof Yunus Moosa
Our 2016 Conference programme has been carefully designed to benefit all health care practitioners. We are confident that nurses will both enjoy and derive a great deal of value from all Conference activities and thus, we encourage nurses to engage with all of the sessions and presentations.