15 Dec Conference recap: NCHIV
The 13th NCHIV, Netherlands Conference on HIV, took place on 24 & 26 November featuring many renowned speakers, all addressing HIV pathogenesis, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment.
The conference, which usually takes place in Amsterdam, went online for the first time, and proved to be a great success! The online NCHIV platform had simulations of door openings when entering a room, enthusiastic mediators for live Q&A sessions, and live panel discussions where attendees could participate. Almost 200 participants took part in the live sessions and it was great to see such activity and energy in the Q&A sessions!
The conference began with a warm welcome from Prof. Peter Reiss, the conference Chair. The conference platform looked as if he were “presenting the 9 o’clock morning news.”
The first session, chaired by Prof. Frank Cobelens, featured Dr. Sabine Hermans, the first plenary speaker of the day who talked about Tuberculosis, HIV and COVID-19. Sabine highlighted the changing treatment landscape of TB, giving an overview of the status of TB drug development. Her presentation addressed the anticipated increase in HIV and TB related mortality due to the reduced access to health services in regions that were highly burdened by the COVID-19 outbreak. “TB and HIV are an ongoing syndemic and it is of high importance to catch up on the disrupted health interventions following lockdowns to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on this.” During the first day, Dr. Ard van Sighem, Dr. Colette Smit, Dr. Ferdinand Wit and Dr. Anders Boyd presented the highlights of the 2020 HIV Monitoring Report to which an avid panel discussion followed. The afternoon focused on novel ART options and implementation, accompanied by a dynamic discussion.
During the second day, Dr. Vanessa Harris mediated a discussion revolving around sexual health; “Covid has not only affected us in our behavior but also in our bedrooms.” She pressed the need for governments to target health interventions and increase HIV testing in key risk groups to mitigate the effects of COVID on sexual behavior. Finally, Dr. Harris mediated a discussion between researchers on the topic of HIV and men who have sex with men.
While this year’s NCHIV was forced online, it was still a huge success with approximately 180 people attending each day. We hope that NCHIV will take place safely in person next year. Keep an eye out for more information on NCHIV’s 14th annual conference at https://nchiv.org/.