Dr Nneka Nwokolo, Senior Global Medical Director, ViiV Healthcare shared her perspective on HIV Glasgow 2020 virtual conference.
Q1: What is HIV Glasgow and why were ViiV Healthcare excited to attend?
HIV Glasgow has always been the conference for showcasing advances in HIV treatment and discussing the implications of new and existing treatment management strategies. In the same way that we’ve adapted the way we interact and share information to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, so must we adjust to the “new normal” of virtual conferences. We hope that this article is helpful providing tips and guidance for finding the information you’re looking for on the conference platform.
I was excited about the conference’s new focus on prevention and cure. You’ll no doubt remember the excitement caused by the “Brazilian patient” earlier this year, signifying the huge interest in this rapidly expanding field. I was also be very interested to see the new data on novel prevention strategies.
Other topics of interest at the conference included obesity and antiretroviral therapies, and in particular the metabolic consequences and related long-term adverse effects. The impact of Covid-19 on HIV was another important area of study this year. People living with HIV (PLHIV) and clinicians shared their experiences of Covid-19, which I’m sure resonated widely because of the similarities and synergies between the 2 pandemics.
As a company focussed solely on HIV, it’s ViiV Healthcare’s mission to leave no person living with HIV behind, so we’re delighted that HIV Glasgow had a session dedicated to the community. It focused on the importance of involving PLHIV in treatment decisions and empowering individuals to self-manage their HIV care.
Carolina* aimsQ2: What is ViiV Healthcare’s perspective on the current research and implications for HIV management strategies?
Innovation is key!
Our aim is to make HIV a smaller part of people’s lives. To help achieve this, we strive to make existing medicines easier to take, research and develop new medicines, as well as create new ways to deliver medicines so that we can reduce the burden on PLHIV.
Additionally, it’s not enough that effective HIV treatments exist or that we research and develop new medicines, it’s crucial that the results of clinical trials are assessed to ensure that they’re just as effective in the real world. That’s where the ViiV Healthcare’s Implementation Science team comes in. They collaborate with researchers and implementers to support research testing the impact of evidence-based interventions as they happen in the field of HIV.
Just as important as the medication is helping PLHIV access the treatment and care they need. For example, a recent collaboration between ViiV Healthcare and the University of South Carolina* aims to evaluate the benefits of ride-sharing services, including Lyft and Uber, in improving access to care for PLHIV in Columbia, South Carolina. The hope is that by making it easier for individuals to get to a clinic, hospital or doctor’s appointment, it will increase the likelihood that they will start and stay on treatment.
*This study is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q3: What is ViiV Healthcare’s perspective on the role of PLHIV in treatment decisions and self-management?
No decisions about me without me!
PLHIV are getting older, and with this comes the risk of developing diseases of older age, many of which require treatment. As shown in Positive Perspectives Wave 2, one of the largest, global, HIV patient-reported outcomes studies to date, PLHIV have significant concerns about this. They expressed worries about ageing, taking multiple medications and their relationships with healthcare providers.
It’s crucial that PLHIV are actively involved in their own care. ViiV Healthcare is committed to helping PLHIV communicate effectively with their HCPs to address their evolving treatment and care needs as they grow older.
Read more about our Positive Perspectives Wave 2 Study findings at AIDS 2020.