Treatment Science Writers site starting up again…
Due to family and personal health issues, as well as our work and residences changing, this site became inactive approximately three and a half years ago. We’d like to have a more formal relaunch soon and to begin to cover stories from conferences and the medical literature again on a more regular basis. In the meantime, though, I’d like to post some updates on some of what we’ve been doing over the last few years, though the news is now a bit dated — in part, to remind myself how to use WordPress!
Looking back to 2016, a couple of us (Lance Sherriff and I) had an opportunity, supported through GoFundMe by friends and community, to briefly return to South Africa for the World AIDS Conference to help cover the event (and its TB premeeting) for Aidsmap.com and to investigate whether there might be interest in continuing our most rewarding work in the field—namely the newsletter that I helped produce for more than 10 years: HIV/AIDS Treatment in Practice (HATIP), which dealt with the practical aspects of delivering HIV (and TB) treatment and care in resource limited settings, at a time when treatment programs were only just beginning to scale up.
Sixteen years earlier, my life had been changed at the XIII International AIDS Conference, which had been held in Durban, South Africa. At that meeting, people living with HIV, treatment activists and care providers from South Africa and around the world ‘broke the silence’ about the global HIV treatment disparity.
The combinations antiretroviral therapy that had, by and large, made HIV a manageable chronic illness in industrialized countries was simply priced out of reach for people living with HIV in resource limited settings — and millions upon millions were dying. But at the ‘Global March for Access to Treatment’, where over 5000 activists toyi-toyied through the streets of Durban to the conference opening session, the message was loud and clear that the deadly disparity in HIV treatment and care no longer be tolerated.
I fell in love with the people in South Africa, and one in particular, and decided to stay… and try to offer myself as a resource to the efforts to get people treatment. Mostly, I just documented the heroic efforts of people living with HIV, civil society, and spread the best practices of implementers working at the coal face of the epidemic.
We did make it to the 2016 conference and another post that we are now posting we include part of a report we compiled detailing some of the progress over the intervening 16 years bringing treatment programs to scale in Africa.
Part of our support for attendance of the 2016 meeting came directly from the International AIDS Society, in exchange for rapporteuring services for TB2016, a two-day conference dedicated exclusively to TB that immediately preceded AIDS 2016. Several of the news stories from this preconference were published on aidsmap.com and hivandhepatitis.com. In yet another post, we are belatedly publishing a report that we wrote up on the TB pre-meeting that we wrote up for IAS.
Unfortunately, we did not find support at AIDS 2016 to continue the work of HATIP. However, we did commit ourselves to a six month intensive project reviewing the success of EQUIP Health, a novel PEPFAR-supported initiative to expand the capacity of leading South African (and one Malawian) organizations to share their technical expertise with Ministries of Health in other PEPFAR-countries.