ITM researchers win prizes at Belgian HIV conference
On 30 November, the 9th Belgium Research on AIDS and HIV Consortium (BREACH) symposium took place. ITM was well represented:
- Thijs Reyniers gave an update on the team’s PrEP-related research in Belgium.
- Heleen Van Mieghem spoke about PrEP for female sex workers.
- Eric Florence elaborated on neglected health issues in HIV.
- Several ITM-posters were shown.
The best paper in category public health
Thijs Reyniers and his team from our Sexual and Reproductive Health Research Group won a prize for their research paper on reduced sexual contact with non-steady partners among men who have sex with men in Belgium. “The study demonstrates that during the first COVID-19 lockdown, the risk for HIV and STI transmission may have been particularly low among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Belgium. These insights were especially relevant during the symposium, which is a Belgian HIV conference, where the national HIV figures of 2020 are presented and interpreted,” comments Thijs. “When the first COVID-19 lockdown was introduced we responded swiftly with the entire team, so we are glad with this very nice result”
The best poster in category public health
Another prize was granted to Jef Vanhamel, for his poster. The public health category had the most submissions, so Jef’s poster was really strong. “In our research, we showed that family physicians are willing to be more actively involved in several aspects of PrEP care, which could provide opportunities to link people to care and reduce the burden on specialised HIV clinics dealing with PrEP delivery today,” Jef explains. “These prizes are a nice recognition for the work we are doing as a team within the PROMISE project, and show the relevance of our studies for optimising PrEP for HIV prevention in Belgium”.
The studies are part of the Promise project ‘Optimise PrEP to Maximise Impact’, funded by FWO-SBO (Flemish Scientific Research – Strategic Basic Research). The project wants to learn how PrEP roll-out can be optimised to maximally reduce HIV incidence and benefit sexual health. Find out more on the PROMISE website.
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