02 Aug Scientific report from 13th annual INTEREST Conference now online
The 13th International Conference on HIV Treatment, Pathogenesis, and Prevention Research (the INTEREST meeting) was held in Accra, Ghana from May 14-17, bringing together nearly 700 participants from 39 countries. It was the biggest event ever in terms of registrations, attendees, and abstracts submissions.
“Each year, we see an increasing interest in INTEREST from across Africa and around the world, which speaks to the reputation the conference has developed as the premiere HIV science conference in Africa,” said Prof. Catherine (Cate) Hankins, AIGHD academic staff and Scientific Chair of the INTEREST Conference.
The annual event is co-organized by the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development and Virology Education.
Taking advantage of the meeting’s intimate all-plenary format, INTEREST delegates engaged in lively debates over three and a half days on key challenges in the HIV response, including optimal drug treatment regimens, whether undetectable means untransmissible in the African context, and what strategies work best for the missing males at every step of the 90-90-90 cascade.
Since 2015, the conference has been dedicated to the memory of Joep Lange and Jacqueline van Tongeren, both of whom were tragically killed when the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
Since 2016, a local art exhibition has been held in memory of Jacqueline, who was an avid art lover and worked tirelessly to build the conference from the beginning alongside the other co-founders. This year’s artist-in-residence was Naa Ashirifia Mettle-Nunoo, a young, contemporary urban Ghanaian painter and sculptor.
In honour of Joep, an award was established in his name. It is given each year to the highest scoring abstract submitted to the conference by an early-career African scientist. Zambian Sylvia Mwanza received this year’s award, which includes travel, accommodation, and registration for the following year’s conference which will be held in Windhoek, Namibia May 5-8, 2020.