Meet the delegates

Are you at the conference? We would love to meet you in person! This year, NAM has a stand in the exhibition hall.

We are at stand 22, in exhibition hall C.

We would love to see you, hear about you and your work, and show you some of our print and web-based resources.

The conference is a great opportunity for us to meet and talk to some of the people who use the information we produce in many different countries. We always enjoy hearing about the ways people use our resources and what else you might need. We really value your feedback, so please come and visit!

Wen-Ju Chen

Wen-Ju Chen is a social worker in Taiwan and a PhD student at National Taiwan University. She came over to the stand to meet the people behind "the famous website"! She often uses aidsmap.com to keep herself up to date.

Wen-Ju works across a range of areas, and with people aged 15 and over. She was particularly interested in finding out about harm reduction work relating to recreational drug use, especially with young women.

We also spoke about her work with older people living with HIV, both people who have been living with HIV for many years and older people who have recently been diagnosed.

Dr Naimatullah Akbari

Dr Akbari came to the stand to tell us about his work in a women's prison in Afghanistan. He runs a health clinic, which provides HIV testing and harm reduction services for the women.

We talked about the situation in Afghanistan, and the problems with security and access to the provinces. We were delighted to hear that the very first network of people living with HIV has just been founded in Afghanistan, and we’ll be adding them to our online database of services, the e-atlas.

Dr Akbari is particularly interested in sexual and reproductive health, prevention and behaviour change communications and issues around stigma and discrimination.

Kristina Voglein

Kristina Voglein is president of an organisation called Udruga Miks, an organisation in Croatia that works closely with children in schools in to promote awareness and understanding of HIV and AIDS.

Kristina was delighted to have finally found the NAM stand after wandering around the huge exhibition hall for a while trying to find us! Udruga Miks is listed on NAM’s e-atlas and Kristina wanted to come over and meet the people behind the database.

The whole idea behind the work that Udruga Miks does, is that in order for children to learn and understand something they have to be fully involved in it. Kristina has had huge success by going into schools and encouraging children to create art (drawings, photography, collages, jewellery etc.) about HIV and AIDS to raise awareness. Each year, a different theme is chosen and this year that theme is ‘knowledge’.

Kristina arranges for famous artists, photographers and designers to do their own interpretations of what ‘HIV knowledge’ means to them, and takes these artworks into schools, where children then learn about the issues by creating their own pieces. An exhibition is put on in schools where children come and show their work, teach their peers about HIV, and learn by sharing their art. Kristina has found that this is a great way to get children to learn, at an early age, the importance of HIV education, and even helps to educate their parents and neighbours who come to the exhibitions to see their children’s work.

Bill Conn

We had an interesting discussion with Bill Conn, the Caribbean Regional PEPFAR Co-ordinator. Based in Barbados, Bill’s work covers twelve countries in the region, each with different social and treatment access challenges. Some countries are already engaged with procuring antiretroviral treatment, where others are still reliant on the Global Fund.

Bill co-ordinates the work of several agencies in the region and invests time in communicating the work of the programme to local public officials and community leaders.

We discussed the lack of reliable statistical data in the region and the survey work, particularly focused on sex workers and men who have sex with men, which is underway. Bill also described plans for a web-based dashboard system for the region, which would enable countries to fulfil PEPFAR reporting requirements and also set their own outcomes and targets to monitor.

Bill said he had been a subscriber to aidsmap news bulletins “for many years”. He’s particularly interested in the research and information around treatment as prevention and anything related to the Caribbean region.

Levinia Crooks

Levinia Crooks is the Chief Executive of the Australian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM), an organisation that works to support the HIV, viral hepatitis and sexual health workforce. She came by the NAM stand to tell us that she thinks aidsmap.com is a great resource and she uses our information in her role.

Levinia and her team are already looking ahead to the next International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) which will be held in Melbourne, Australia. It may seem strange to be thinking so far ahead when this year’s conference has only just got underway, but ASHM is the scientific partner for the next conference and the team are seeing this conference as an opportunity to begin discussions with partners on the priorities for the next conference. Levinia is sitting on the conference co-ordinating committee and told us that, although two years seems a long way off now, it’ll be here before we know it and there is a lot to organise!

On Thursday, a satellite symposium will be held at which representatives from the Asia pacific and Australian partners of AIDS 2014 will come together to discuss a partnership approach to the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS that should be prioritised at the next conference. Levinia herself is speaking on behalf of ASHM and is looking forward to some interesting discussion at the symposium. More information on AIDS 2014 will soon be available at www.aids2014.org

Dr Joshua Obasanya

On Tuesday, we met Dr Joshua Obasanya, the Nigerian National TB Control Programme Manager. He has been a subscriber to NAM’s free regular e-bulletin, HIV & AIDS Treatment in Practice, for four years and finds the information it contains really useful in his work, especially the reports from different conferences and events.

We talked about the current challenges Dr Obasanya is facing in his work. Increasing and improving the rates of earlier detection of TB in children is a particular focus, as is developing guidelines and sharing information that keeps healthcare workers across Nigeria up to date with developments in tackling multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). Preventing TB through the roll-out of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) is also a key priority.

Dr Obasanya has enjoyed the conference so far, and is enjoying meeting people working on TB and HIV from all over the world.

Alphoncina Kaihura

We were delighted to meet Alphoncina Kaihura, a student originally from Tanzania, when she came over to our exhibition stand to find out about NAM and what we do.

Alphoncina is currently studying on a doctorate programme at the University of San Francisco – her research explores the impact of stigma on quality of life in African Americans with HIV. Alphoncina grew up in a small village just outside Bukoba, where the first ever cases of HIV were reported, and told us that losing family, friends and neighbours to the disease sparked her interest in research into HIV and AIDS.

While Alphoncina had never heard of NAM before, she was interested to see our full range of simple information booklets and factsheets. She is a qualified nurse herself and teaches young nurses and midwives – she gathered a selection of our resources to take back with her to Tanzania, and said she thought they would be a great aid to help her to explain complicated concepts of HIV to her students.

Massogui Thiandoume

Massogui Thiandoume is the Programme Manager for the Alliance National contre le SIDA, the organisation responsible for the management of the Global Fund in Senegal since 2005. Thirty NGOS and 400 civil society organisations in Senegal are dependent on the support of the ANCS.

Massogui co-ordinates the efforts of the ANCS to provide technical support, capacity building and strengthening of community systems to all the organisations under its umbrella. He oftens feels frustrated by the lack of information and support available in French to help small organisations access much needed international funding. Although many organisations do excellent work, they also often lack the training and support necessary to advertise their projects and showcase their results. Therefore, for Massogui, it is crucial to attend conferences such as the International AIDS conference in order to stay up to date with all the latest development and to meet other delegates. He is particularly interested in learning about new innovations in prevention, community care, and ways to strengthen civil society so he can bring back his knowledge and share it with other stakeholders back home.

Like most delegates from resources-limited countries, he is worried about reduced international funding and is particularly keen on forging new partnership and alliances. He would also like to share experiences with colleagues on human resources, an aspect often ignored by the global community. 

Massogui uses NAM’s resources in French on a regular basis and finds the conference bulletin particularly useful to keep up to date with the latest news from the conference. He uses them as a good base to report on the conference and inform his colleagues in Senegal. He was also very enthusiastic about the new function of our e-atlas which allows organisation to share their projects, training tools or capacity-building documents, especially as it will be a multi-lingual section. He thought it would be an excellent way for organisations to impart knowledge on how to document their projects.

Beverly King

Beverly King is the programme co-ordinator at Comtalk International, an educational and counselling referral agency in Trinidad & Tobago. Beverly came bounding over to our stand yesterday and told us she’d be looking all over for us! (The conference centre is huge so it could have taken a while!)

Beverly told us that she is constantly using the booklet series in her work, especially the CD4, viral load and other tests booklet, to help explain the complicated bits of HIV in a clear and simple way to her service users. The people she sees often have a range of issues from low self-esteem to other co-infections, and our booklets are a great way to help her provide more information about a wide range of topics to her service users.

Beverly remembered NAM from the International AIDS Conference in Mexico in 2008 and came to replenish her stocks of our booklets and basic factsheets – we were more than happy to help her cram as many booklets into her bags as possible!

Marcus Bogie

Marcus Bogie is the programme manager at the Aids Action Council of the ACT in Canberra, Australia. It provides services to the community, aimed at eliminating further transmission of HIV and minimising the personal and social impacts of HIV and AIDS.

Marucs took some time out of his busy conference schedule to come over to the NAM stand and tell us how much he loves our work (we also took the opportunity to tell him how much we loved his cowboy hat!). Marcus always points people to aidsmap.com if they need more information about any aspect of life with HIV, he finds our booklets particularly  useful as they are very simple, clear and easy to understand and our email bulletins are great for informing his own work too.

Eric Castellanos

Eric Castellanos is the executive director and founding member of CNET+ Belize, a collaborative network for people with HIV in Belize. Eric is one of the very few people from Belize who are attending the conference here in Washington.

The way Eric came to know about NAM is quite a story! A few years ago, Eric became aware that there was no public person or organisation standing up and representing the HIV-positive population in Belize. Having decided to do something about it, he went on a mission to find out more and came across aidsmap.com and, more specifically, NAM’s e-atlas. Having seen how much information about other organisations all over the world we have on the e-atlas, Eric decided to email our editor Sylvie for more information. In Sylvie’s words, she “bombarded him with all sorts of information” and put Eric in touch with lots of organisations in Latin America to help him out.

Eric then set about contacting the organisations and worked very closely with them over the next year, discussing how he might go about addressing the needs of people in Belize. He was overwhelmed by the response from organisations, who were more than happy to help him with the logistics of setting up an organisation, and even helped him with the extensive paperwork needed to get started – 12 months on, CNET+ was founded!

Eric came over to our stand to thank Sylvie (and put a face to a name!) and to tell us all about his work – he told us that disclosure is a huge issue within Belize, it is such a small country that people are fearful of accessing services due to the huge amount of stigma still surrounding a positive diagnosis. Eric and his team are working to tackle this stigma head on, and provide people in Belize with the information they need to stay healthy with HIV.

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NAM is partnering with UNICEF to deliver the AIDS 2012 bulletins, which have also been made possible thanks to support from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Vestergaard Frandsen. NAM’s wider conference news reporting services have been supported by Abbott, Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen, Roche and ViiV Healthcare.