MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY
In the last three decades, astounding progress in the medical sciences has effectively converted HIV into a chronic and easily manageable disease with virtually normal life expectancy. It has been a long and tortuous journey. In the ‘90’s we had to contend with toxic regimens and high pill burdens with risk benefit profiles that precluded early treatment. Now we have convenient, safe, once daily, fixed drug combinations with easily manageable toxicities that make early treatment, and test and treat a reality. This treatment paradigm is strengthened by the reality that effective viral suppression is a highly efficient prevention strategy.
The current challenge is to identify at least 90% of all infected subjects, start 90% of them on effective treatment and ensure that at least 90% on treatment remain virologically suppressed (90/90/90). South Africa has already initiated over 3.5 million on ART. In addition to managing this large burden, the health care system is under tremendous pressure to continuously identify infected subjects, get them firmly linked to care, initiate ART as soon as possible, and keep at least 90% of those on treatment motivated to sustain an adherence of 90%. Furthermore, patients will survive well into old age, demanding that HIV clinicians be skilled at managing more than just HIV. Preventative medicine, age related screening for disease and managing comorbidities will become standard of practice. This is a tall order for a health care system that is overburdened, under-resourced, suffers limited human capacity at all levels, with weak supply chain management systems and chronically failing infrastructure.
It is imperative to grow the next generation of HIV clinician to be well-rounded clinicians. This conference will provide the latest in evidence based medicine to keep the clinicians informed of new therapeutics on the horizon, new strategies for management, and sessions on improving skills. It is the perfect place to meet like-minded people, network, and make friends. We are looking forward to seeing you all at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg in October.
Prof Yunus Moosa
WELCOME FROM THE CONFERENCE CHAIR
We are rapidly approaching our 2018 conference and we find ourselves in the midst of exciting possibilities. The ground-breaking HIV vaccine trial being conducted in sites around South Africa has the possibility to change the face of HIV.
The exciting new compounds that will soon be available in the country hold great potential for patient care and simplicity of regimens. The possibility of having only two regimens due to the robustness of the drugs that have become available, promises to overhaul our HIV programme and streamline the benefits structure of medical insurers.
It becomes important that as we celebrate and enjoy all these possibilities as HIV clinicians, we not lose sight of the patients to whom these possibilities speak. To this end, one of the areas of focus for this conference is growing the next generation of HIV clinician. There is abundant knowledge that resides within the numerous HIV experts in SA and the time to actively pass on that knowledge – institutional, programmatic and clinical – has arrived. To achieve this, we’ve requested that each presenter/expert have a young doctor shadow them throughout the conference, and hopefully at the university/teaching hospital that they work in as well. We hope that this will be emulated by all other clinicians so that the pool of experts may grow and serve with distinction. This promises to be the best conference we’ve ever had and I am proud to be chairing it.
Looking forward to seeing you all in October.
Dr Moeketsi Mathe