Sixth Annual HIV Women’s Seminar 2018

Click below to download some of the power point presentations from the event:

Dr Rupert Handy – Current Landscapes from CROI: An Update from CROI and the Changing Landscape

Charon Lessing – Pharmacy Services and Experiences: CharonPosWomenJun2018

Victoria Hoban – HIV and Breastfeeding; NZ Case Studies: Victoria Positive Women Presentation 2018

Jane Bruning – Changing Policy and Practice; HIV Testing as a Routine Diagnostic Procedure: Jane HIV Women’s Seminar 2018v1

Mark Thomas – Update on ID Dental Practice: Mark HIV and dental care in NZ. HIV womens Seminar June 2018_

Positive Women Inc held another jam-packed HIV Women’s Seminar on June 22 at Sorrento in the the Park here in Auckland. The mainstays of this year’s conference centered around the importance of offering routine HIV testing as part of diagnostic procedure, examining the implications and recommendations for breastfeeding by mothers living with HIV, looking at the current landscape of HIV treatment and care, and listening to touching personal stories by people living with and impacted by HIV. We were fortunate to have some very distinguished speakers from the medical community who shared valuable nuggets of information about these topics and many more, re-directing the focus of the audience to the importance of understanding our choices when it comes to living with HIV and the care we receive.

The seminar was kicked off by a lovely pre-recorded welcome message by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden who couldn’t be with us because she had just had a baby the day before. She wished Positive Women Inc the best of luck and welcomed all our guests. Dr Rupert Handy spoke about his observations from CROI (Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections), which was held in Boston recently. He spoke about the current landscape of HIV treatment, PrEP and the CD4 threshold. Academic and informative, the talk opened the floor for  further discussion. Gayle Jonker, a woman living with HIV, shared her story as being one half of a serodiscordant couple. Hers was a warm and inspiring story, laced with humour and soul. Charon Lessing, from the University of Auckland, shared her research on pharmacy services and experiences impacting people living with HIV. After morning tea, we were treated to the talks of three very important women who have spent many years working with and for women living with HIV who have been faced with the decision to breastfeed their babies. Positive Women Inc also launched its newest resource – a pamphlet on information regarding breastfeeding – and handed copies out to the audience.

After lunch, some very brave speakers shared their experiences of living with and being affected by HIV. Stories of late diagnosis and care touched many in the room, making people think about why women are not offered the same consideration as ‘high risk’ groups when it comes to testing. Our National Coordinator, Jane Bruning, further stressed upon this topic by urging policy change in routine diagnostic practice. Wrapping up the event we had Dr Mark Thomas (it is always such a pleasure to have him) speak to us about current dental practices affecting people living with HIV. Edith Rosenberg then spoke about the Unity Tool, an interactive platform created by ViiV Healthcare to support people living with HIV during health appointments.

Our seminar is fast becoming known for being a conference with heart. There is educational information disseminated in almost every talk but what makes our seminar unique is the time and importance devoted to the personal stories of people living with HIV. These people are the real stars of our event, sharing their most private moments to help us understand the HIV journey better.

We also offered rapid HIV testing at the venue and were pleased to see many audience members avail the experience of what it feels like to go for the test and have to wait for results. Artists from make-up company M.A.C was also onsite to give complimentary lip touch ups to our audience.