Helen Anyasi, FHI 360
Peter Michael Adamu, FHI 360

Last week, MOSAIC staff from Nigeria traveled to Cotonou, Benin, for the International Conference on HIV Treatment, Pathogenesis, and Prevention Research (INTEREST). They participated in the conference in person and, in this post, share their reflections. You can find a full list of MOSAIC’s involvement at INTEREST 2024 here.

What is one thing that surprised you during the conference? 

Helen: During our special session panel, HIV prevention for key and vulnerable populations, Josephine Aseme from Greater Women Initiative for Helth and Right in Nigeria made a profound statement that resonated so powerfully: “We exist!” She challenged the HIV community to put words to action in combating stigma and addressing inequities in receiving HIV care and support.

Peter Michael: One development that truly caught me by surprise was the introduction of event-driven PrEP (ED-PrEP) for women. I had not anticipated this advancement would come so soon, and it marks a significant milestone in HIV prevention. 2024 is bringing new information and hope for women. This is a demonstration of the dynamic nature of HIV research and the dedication of the scientific community to expanding preventive options. Combating HIV demands innovative solutions and a dedicated effort to tailor these approaches to the needs of all vulnerable populations. For Nigerian women, ED-PrEP represents hope and a powerful tool in reducing new HIV infections. However, the challenge lies in ensuring that ED-PrEP becomes accessible, understood, and trusted within the community.

What is your biggest takeaway from INTEREST 2024?

Helen: It takes us all to win this fight against HIV and achieve epidemic control! From researchers and policy makers to advocates, implementers, donors, and end-users, INTEREST 2024 gave a platform to these diverse groups to share their successes, challenges, and future opportunities as we drive towards epidemic control.

Peter Michael: INTEREST 2024 offered an exciting opportunity to hear from experts on HIV who provided hope for achieving the global target of ending AIDS by 2030. The collective effort of the conference resembled a global village united by a common goal. Sessions on the emergence of new prevention technologies and innovative strategies to ensure access to these technologies was clear evidence of progress in this vital fight. However, achieving our goals will require a high level of political will at both international and national levels.

How will you apply what you learned during the conference to your work on MOSAIC?

Helen: There was a lot of attention given to HIV prevention and new prevention technologies at INTEREST 2024. The key takeaway for me was how we can truly harness the power of PrEP to achieve epidemic control. Linda-Gail Bekker’s presentation on Day 2, New HIV prevention technologies: From research findings to access, really put the work we do on MOSAIC into perspective for me. MOSAIC can truly bridge the gap between research and access as we work with governments and other stakeholders to either generate evidence that supports PrEP choice or translate existing evidence into action. I am very proud that these sessions and the conference in general highlighted the need for the type of work that MOSAIC does.

Peter Michael: INTEREST 2024 underscored the necessity for continuous advocacy to develop supportive policies for the introduction of new HIV prevention innovations. With the support of the MOSAIC team, I will actively engage in advocacy efforts, pushing for the formulation of policies that facilitate the introduction and integration of injectable cabotegravir (CAB PrEP). This will involve persistent lobbying and policy dialogue to ensure that CAB PrEP reaches those in need efficiently and effectively. We can create an enabling environment where people have access to PrEP choice.

Featured Image: Peter Michael Adamu and Helen Anyasi at INTEREST 2024 (MOSAIC).