Being part of a purely medical symposium is new to me – but it was an interesting one in Hamburg, which ended this afternoon. Besides my opening talk about the African way in the jungle of Westernized prevention and treatment strategies there were a range of exciting topics and so much to learn. G Stich from Wuerzburg shared his impression of the treatment work on the continent Africa while K Ochel reported from his experience in working in the fields of E-learning in China. A real eye opener and a complete change of attitude is happening in this huge country, from prevention work via methadone substitute for IV drug-users to treatment options. I realized that maybe we have to review our predictions and thinking regarding China in the fields of HIV and AIDS.
Church, politics and health systems: Is the pandemic under control was the question of a panel discussion I participated then and again: different views how far we have come, but there was nobody seriously thinking we have already reached the Rubicon.
Exciting news from research in the USA: D Ando reported on exciting studies to block the CCR5 receptor and D Margolis from trials to trigger the HIV reservoirs through HDAC Inhibition. And we learned in the context that there are some interesting developments regarding the Berlin patient. Is functional healing a vision was the overall question of this part of the forum.
The next chapter looked after side effects: Are they really as serious as they sometimes reported? Is there any difference between aging people living with or without HIV or another chronic disease? It seems not according to what I have heard… But I learned that a study about elderly female in Iowa showed that taking too much vitamin supplements actually triggers higher mortality – specially iron. Calcium seems to decrease the mortality rate. Interesting…
Role play about doctor – patient interactions and treatment strategies formed the final part of the forum and I have to admit that the atmosphere, the discussions, the way of giving information, the variety of topics made this strategic forum worth travelling all the way from Cape Town to Hamburg. Thanks also to MSD and the local organisers for making it possible for me to participate, to share my knowledge and to learn so much more.
And good to know that researchers and medics are interested in seeing the holistic picture and eyeing beyond the their own medical portfolio.