Report from the 22nd International AIDS Society Conference 23–27 July 2018, Amsterdam, the Netherlands: a nurse’s view

Shaun Watson
HIV Clinical Nurse Specialist (Community), Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust, London

My first ever International AIDS Society (IAS) conference ‘AIDS 2018’ certainly delivered. Held at the RAI Conference Centre in Amsterdam in soaring heat, thankfully the rooms were chillingly air conditioned, which kept delegates inside and listening to the varied conference programme. The theme of the conference was ‘breaking barriers, building bridges’ but this was lost in a sea of U=U (undetectable= untransmittable), pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and activism talks, banners, t-shirts and chanting. AIDS 2018 was huge with around 20,000 participants, however, there was a disappointing number of nurses present and hardly any nurses were involved in panel discussions or talking about their work/role or research, something that will hopefully be changed for AIDS Despite the upbeat friendly nature of IAS, there were several daily protests against pharma, fighting for tuberculosis treatments, decriminalisation of sex workers, access to antiretrovirals and transgender rights.
Young people, their role in the future of HIV activism and an end to the epidemic were highlighted throughout the conference. From the initial opening ceremony, with Elton John and Prince Harry, young people were at the heart of it, delivering talks and taking the stage at the global village, their voice was loud. Read more…