Feeling good, living better

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22 Sep 2015

The Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference in Brisbane provided the perfect opportunity to hold a symposium where people from NAPWHA’s member orgs and local people living with HIV could come together to talk about the latest quality of life research.

Entitled ‘Feeling good, living better’, the symposium began with some words from the chair of the event, NAPWHA President Robert Mitchell. After welcoming those present, Mitchell introduced the panel for the day: Ian Muchamore, President of Living Positive Victoria; Craig Cooper, CEO of Positive Life NSW; Dr Fraser Drummond from ViiV Healthcare; and Dr Jennifer Power and Dr Anthony Lyons, both from La Trobe University.

Muchamore was first up to the podium where he relayed the results of a Victorian health literacy survey. The results of the survey — which mainly focused on gay and bi men — raised questions as to how to improve patients’ health literacy. Summarising the survey, Muchamore presented the idea that a cooperation model is the key to developing new interventions.

The next speaker, Craig Cooper, invited the room to “have a conversation”. Among the subjects discussed were the issues and experiences around side effects, treatment options and the importance of regular treatment reviews. Cooper then went on to emphasise the importance of establishing a good relationship with a S100 prescriber; it is a relationship, said Cooper, which relies on excellent communication and negotiation skills. In addition, Cooper also stated that while PLHIV have much improved treatment options nowadays, the HIV story isn’t over.

Dr Fraser Drummond from ViiV Healthcare was next to speak. Discussing quality of life indicators for PLHIV ,Drummond said questions around treatment needed to be re-assessed. He argued that since PLHIV are living better, many questions have become redundant.

The final two speakers were Dr Jennifer Power and Dr Anthony Lyon. Power gave a brief explanation about the complexity of measuring quality of life and how a range of elements and factors contribute to the process. In his presentation, Lyons talked about resilience and how sometimes this concept isn’t fully understood as people aren’t sure how to refer to it. Lyons also made the observation that too few studies on mental health and wellbeing exist.

There is no doubt that the symposium was a great success and much was learnt by everyone there. NAPWHA would like to thank everyone for attending and Queensland Positive People for organising the logistics.