Discovering Australia: a trip to the International Workshop on HIV Pediatrics 2023

27 Jul, 2023

A warm welcome to my blog, thank you for joining me for the conference adventures!!! 

Flying to Brisbane, was a beautiful journey, it was my first time going out of India on a long plane journey. I was filled with lots of excitement, emotions, and dedication to making change in society through my reporting. Australia is a unique country, with beautiful places and a deep cultural history. Australians are known for their kind hospitality. I have experienced this already! 

We were here for the International Workshop on HIV Pediatrics and IAS Conference. The conferences brought together scientists, medical professionals, policy makers and community from across the world to give everyone a chance to come together and to talk about ongoing opportunities to make an impact in the lives of people living with HIV. 

After attending the workshop talks, the ones that resonated with me most were: 

  • Global Updates on the HIV Epidemic in Infants, Children, Adolescents and Women, by Anna Yakusik, from UNAIDS. 
  • The Epidemiology of HIV in Pregnant Women, Children and Adolescents in the Asia -Pacific, by Dr Annette Sohn from TREAT Asia/amfAR. 

They gave me much more information about what’s going around the world in HIV, with both a global and regional perspective across different countries. After their talks I spent some time to ask a few speakers questions, which you can see here in Penta’s Young Reporters highlights on Instagram.

The conference ended with a panel discussion where young people had a chance to share their valuable experiences with people at the conference. I found this motivating, encouraging and I learned something new from each of them. It was a good reminder that every person is equal. 

The panel featured a range of young people who are doing excellent work and living a positive life. The discussion started with an important perspective on sharing one’s status, one of the girls described the rejection she faced, because of her positive status and judgement from others, which lead to depression, anxiety and other psychological problems.  

But you know there are two sides of a coin. So, there were also some positive stories of the responses they got from really understanding, caring, supportive people in their lives, who always stand by their side whenever they need them. For me, the most powerful statement was “we don’t need your sympathy, instead we will love to have empathy, motivation, enthusiasm and support from everyone.” 

My blog is just giving you an overview of my time at the Paediatric Workshop. Learning about new things in HIV, and a good experiences… but there is lot more to come over the coming months of our key takeaways. I want you all to spread awareness, challenge misconceptions, support young people living with HIV and treat them with the dignity and give respect they deserve…we are strong alone, but we are stronger together…

Written by Pieet, Penta Young Reporter