8th August 2017
Approximately 160 family physicians and nurses attended our August 5th seminar on HIV 2017: What Next?

In his introduction, Dr Wong Sin Yew showed the 2016 global figures from UNAIDS which revealed that the reduction in new HIV infections were lagging the proposed 2020 targets. He highlighted the alarming increase in new cases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Dr Wong continued with an update of the status of the WHO 90-90-90 targets, the achievements and challenges so far.

Dr Paul Tambyah provided a lively discussion on the topic on “HIV Epidemic in Singapore: What else can be done?” . He touched on the following:

  • Update of HIV situation in Singapore including modes of transmission and demographics of the epidemic
  • The results of the HIV surveillance programmes in Singapore
  • The evaluation of the HIV voluntary opt out screening programme at the restructured hospitals
  • Results of the survey on knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices on HIV infection. He emphasized that ending stigma and discrimination were critical in the fight against HIV infection
  • The challenges to education in HIV prevention efforts

The topic “ HIV Cure: Current Status”, was next discussed by Dr Lam Mun San. She updated the participants with what was covered and discussed at the 9th IAS Conference in Paris in July 2017. She elaborated on the strategies used to achieve a ‘HIV cure’ and its possible impact on the global HIV figures. Dr Lam also discussed the various vaccine trials, the challenges faced and some of the new technologies being used. In conclusion, Dr Lam informed that:

  • Our knowledge of the biology and pathogenesis of the HIV virus has continued to improve and we are closer to achieving “eradication” and “cure”
  • Vaccines (preventive and therapeutic) may be possible in 10 years

Dr Loh Jiashen, infectious disease physician at Sengkang General Hospital spoke on the role of PrEP in HIV prevention. In his talk, he discussed numerous topics including how PrEP works, its effectiveness, the side effects, the current usage recommendations (daily and on demand) and the concerns about “risk compensation” by study participants in the various trials. Dr Loh highlighted that compliance with PrEP was an ongoing issue and that counselling, HIV/STI screening were important elements in a PrEP programme.

Dr Wong Sin Yew had a joint presentation with Mr Lek Siang Pheng, Deputy Managing Partner of the law firm, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson. Dr Wong presented clinical cases with a “ medicolegal twist” and Mr Lek discussed the legal aspects of these cases.

The participants’ provided positive feedback on the topics and speakers. The seminar also incorporated the use of an audience “voting system” to encourage audience-speaker interaction.

We wish to thank all our guest speakers for assisting us in providing useful educational and interesting session to the participants. Most of all, we wish to thank our sponsor, Janssen for the time and effort in supporting this seminar.

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