18th August 2018

Almost 160 family physicians and other healthcare professionals (nurses and dentist) attended the third “Meet the Infectious Disease Specialists” Seminar of 2018 at the Ballroom, Regent Hotel. The seminar was titled “HIV Update 2018: Where Is The Finishing Line?”

After Dr Wong Sin Yew’s welcome speech to the participants, Dr Lam Mun San began her talk and provided an update from the 22nd International AIDS Conference which was held in Amsterdam from 23-27th July 2018.

Dr Lam covered the following areas from the recent International AIDS Conference:

  • Insights into the Current Epidemiology:
    a.The WHO 90-90-90 targets and how far are we from achieving these figures in 2020
    b. The number of new HIV infections and AIDS related deaths globally
  • Innovations in HIV treatment and co-infections:
    a. TB remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV
    b. Innovations in Anti-retroviral therapy (ART), especially in the “Integrase inhibitor era”, the use of 2 drug regimens (GEMINI study ), the use of longer acting agents, broadly neutralising antibody treatment and updates on Hepatitis C and TB Treatment
  • PrEP : Lessons learned from implementation- she discussed the new data supporting the use of PrEP in reducing transmission
  • Advances in HIV vaccine, immunotherapy and cure research

Dr Wong discussed the current status of HIV treatment. He highlighted the main focus of ART in 2018, the recent ART treatment guidelines published by IAS, USA, the initial ART regimens with integrase inhibitors (InSTI) and other Non-InSTI regimens.

In between presenting some case studies, DR Wong spent some time discussing on the different ART regimens that are recommended for Women of Childbearing Age, HBV/HCV co-infections and reasons for switch therapy in viral suppressed. He also spoke on the treatment approach to Virologic Failure and concluded his talk on insights into the future directions of ART.
Dr Ray Lin, Associate Consultant at National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), TTSH spoke on “Late diagnosis of HIV infection and AIDS in Singapore”.

He presented a case study and participants used the online voting system to answer questions in relation to the case presented. Dr Lin then spoke on the trends of late presenters globally and also in Singapore. He discussed the risk factors, the possible reasons, the implications and the consequences for late presentation of HIV infection. Finally, he added that the improvement in longevity is greatest for those who present and start ART earlier.

Our final speaker, Prof Roy Chan, Senior Consultant & Medical Advisor, National Skin Centre and President for Action for AIDS, spoke about PrEP and how it can be used to reduce HIV transmission. He covered the following areas:

  • The HIV prevention revolution including the use of PrEP
  • The efficacy and potential impact of PrEP

Prof Chan also stressed that it is not sufficient to “dispense” PrEP therapy. It is just as important to manage expectations, reduce the barriers, raise awareness, improve clarity in policies and to also develop new strategies for preventing of all STIs.

He highlighted that in this last decade of the HIV epidemic, research on treatment-as-prevention & PrEP have significantly advanced the fight against HIV. He concluded by stating that if we are able to implement them well, we could markedly reduce the number of new HIV infections and shut off the HIV epidemic much earlier.

The feedback given via our feedback forms by the participants was that they had a good and informative half day session on HIV infection.

In addition to thanking our guest speakers, we are also grateful to our sponsor and co-organiser, Janssen for making it possible for our 160 participants to attend this interesting and informative seminar. Thanks once again to everyone involved.