Wednesday, 07 December 2011 18:26

Wednesday Science Sessions Highlights

Addis Ababa, December 07, 2011 - A rich diversity of scientific evidence continues to be released at ICASA 2011, everything from ART retention to stigma and discrimination among authority bodies. Studies from a number of countries have identified key reasons patients miss their HIV appointments. In Liberia, death accounted for 54% of defaulters. Among those alive, financial difficulties for transportation, user fees were the most frequent reasons for defaulting. Evidently, money transfers and fee elimination are a potential retention solution.

It was reported that the time immediately after initiation of ART is the period of highest mortality. A study taking the records of over 165,000 patients has observed that half of the deaths occurred within the first 3-9 months of treatment. The elderly were particularly at risk, according to reports from Malawi.

In children, late initiation of ART and high early mortality are of serious concern. Disclosure has a profound influence on adherence to therapy and a positive outcome, according to a report out of Nigeria. The results of several studies on viral diversity from Cameroon, Mali, Senegal, Ethiopia and Nigeria have reinforced the fact that continuous monitoring of transmission of drug resistant virus among drug naïve individuals remains an important public health issue.

A number of sessions highlighted the need to put in place legal mechanisms, such as HIV tribunals that are able to observe, document and enforce violations of human rights and to do so in ways that are sustainable. In a study conducted by the Ghana Police Service AIDS control program, showed on average, general knowledge of HIV among the police force was high (85.3%) but 65.3% and 57.4% of police officers respectively thought that MSMs and FSWs deserved to be infected.

This indicates that there is still much work to be done in order to positively influence societal attitudes and discrimination against MARPs. According to the scientific reports today, stigma and discrimination remain key aspects of daily life for most-at-risk-populations. A number of studies reported on innovative ways to ensure legal literacy and knowledge about rights that are afforded to PLWH in order to ensure that laws are enacted not just on paper but enforced in practice.

A number of studies confirmed that peer-support networks (for prisoners, for instance) and strategies that provide psychosocial support to adolescents, women and vulnerable children are essential for supporting HIV-affected individuals. In this respect, civil society networks – at local, country, regional and international level - continue to play a key role in the HIV response and should therefore be strengthened.

Young Investigator Awards were given to two scientists: Chioma F Umeuzuegbu, of St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, HIV Resource Center, Onitsha, Nigeria was awarded for her work on Reducing Loss to Follow-up through Effective Contact Tracking (CT). And Dawit Assefa from the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute was awarded the Young Investigator Prize for his work on Evaluation of In-House HIV Drug Resistance Testing Assay.

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Ethiopian is pleased to offer a 10% discount to all ICASA 2011 delegates.

Take advantage of this great offer by visiting your local Ethiopian ticket office. To find your nearest ticketing office, visit Upon your visit, please present your ICASA 2011 registration number to get the discount.

Please note this offer is not applicable for online purchases or at a non-Ethiopian Airlines ticketing office.

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Bon Voyage!

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