Team LPV Highlights at the 2022 Joint HIV/STI Conference

Several lucky folk from Team LPV are excited to be going to Queensland this week for the 2022 Joint HIV/STI Conference. For 30 years the Joint Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference has brought together delegates from Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Pacific. This annual event, which has since joined forces with the Australiasian Sexual Health Conference, has always been an important place for Living Positive Victoria to connect with the latest research findings as well as hear about programs that have made a difference to the lives of people living with HIV. The conference program is packed with presentations and discussions running from early morning until after dark. (If you want to know which sessions and what emerging research we are most excited about and why, read on.)

Living well with HIV 

The conference will look at the important issue of quality of life across a range of sessions. We are especially looking forward to Tim Krulic’s presentation on the ways that the Living Positive Victoria peer navigation team have supported the quality of life concerns of people living with HIV (PLHIV) from culturally diverse backgrounds. Similarly, Dean Cassano’s presentation on ageing well with HIV will talk about the importance of holistic care and tailored support for PLHIV as they age. 

Some of us were lucky to get tickets to the sold-out evening session on women living with HIV, but for those who missed out there are other presentations on women with HIV including one on reproductive health, and another from a large international study of PLHIV looking at gender differences in ageing and comorbidities.  

What’s new? 

There will be a session that brings together the latest perspectives on HIV care, including a talk about the potential for injectable treatments to improve access to treatment.   

There is a neat session on HIV cure, which starts big with International AIDS Society President Professor Sharon Lewin’s overview of global perspectives on HIV cure. It then covers the latest clinical trials and cure science, and finishes with an exploration of PLHIV community response and a personal story from a person who has been part of a cure trial.  

We will also make time to attend the session on anal cancer, which will cover some recent breakthroughs in early detection of anal cancer among PLHIV, and explore what this means for cancer screening for PLHIV.  

Too much to choose from!

We will be tuning in to soak up findings from the Young + Positive study. We have been great supporters of this research into experiences of younger HIV positive folk, which will provide us with much needed insight on how better to include the needs and experiences younger people into the HIV response.  

PLHIV have always been central to HIV prevention, and we are looking forward to joining the conversation about the role of positive communities in the success of newer initiatives like injectable PrEP and self-testing.  We are also keen on Melbourne Sexual Health Centre’s analysis of their PEP prescribing data, which suggests increasing the use of PEP among folks who are can’t access Medicare-subsidised PrEP. We are also keen to hear a review of their HIV testing data from 2012-20, which explores trends in HIV testing among heterosexual service users. 

The session ‘Reassembling’ the social domain in the HIV epidemic looks set to explore some big ideas. The MPX session is sure to be well-attended, as many people at the conference will want to take the latest information home to their communities, as well as ways of offering support during this challenging time. Recent progress towards the decriminalisation of sex work will be explored in a session on Tuesday. Peer organisations in several states will come together to talk about recent changes to the laws around sex work, as well as work that still needs to be done. If only this session wasn’t on at the same time as the HIV and migration spotlight session… 

Connecting in person  

None of us are quite sure how we are going to attend all of the sessions we want to. However, we will definitely be making time to reconnect with friends and collaborators that we haven’t seen for several years, as well as making new connections with our HIV sector colleagues from around the country. 

Living Positive Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.