For the first time, Rwanda is hosting the annual INTEREST Conference which will happen for the 12th edition in the Kigali Convention Center tomorrow, May 29 to June 1.
The HIV research conference will bring together 740 people from 44 different countries around the world.
Over 381 abstracts were submitted for peer review.
Guests include the Minister of Health of Rwanda, Dr Diane Gashumba, Hon Minister of State In charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care at Ministry of Health Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi , the Mayor of Kigali City among others.
Known as ‘The African CROI,’ the INTEREST Conference is now a recognized fixture in the HIV conference calendar. Its full name is the International Workshop on HIV Treatment, Pathogenesis, and Prevention Research in Resource-limited Settings. The conference takes place in different countries in Africa each year. Young researchers and established international HIV experts share original research and stateof-the-art reviews on a wide range of HIV-related topics.
The conference offers lectures, abstract-driven oral and poster presentations, debates, and meet-the-expert sessions. Early morning mentoring sessions see mid-career and senior investigators providing research career guidance to young researchers. Grantspersonship sessions focus on how to best position research grant proposals for success. Clinical case studies, poster discussions, and a good participatory practice/community advisory board session complete the early morning schedule.
Rwanda has played an important role in HIV scientific advances on the African continent. Hosting INTEREST in Kigali enables scientists, clinicians, program managers, students, and others to showcase the great efforts that Rwanda has made in combating HIV, including achieving almost all the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5. Rwanda is now the host country for the African headquarters of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the past decade, HIV prevalence in Rwanda has been stable at 3% among adults between 15-49 years.
A new oral self-testing method is being used, the treat all HIV+ strategy is in place, and mobile condom kiosks are available in high risk areas, among other initiatives.
The INTEREST conference was launched in 2007 and 11 successful meetings have been convened in Uganda, Senegal (twice), Zambia (twice), Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and Malawi. Since 2014, INTEREST has been dedicated to the memory of Professor Joep Lange and Jacqueline van Tongeren of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD).
Pivotal in establishing INTEREST as a leading African and international forum for the dissemination of HIV science and practice, they died tragically when the Malaysian MH17 flight was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
The INTEREST Workshop is a collaboration between the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development and Virology Education.
The International Organising Committee chair of the meeting is Prof Catherine Hankins of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development. Prof Elly Katabira of Makerere University, Uganda is a conference co-chair, along with the chair of the Local Organising Committee, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana of the Rwanda Biomedical Center.