Stigma, Ukrainian refugees and more at the HIV-Nordic network meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland 16 – 18 September 2022
Representatives from Hiv-Iceland, Hiv-Danmark, HivFinland, HIV-Sweden and HivNorway came together in Reykjavik to network, share knowledge and exchange information. The meeting took place in the centre of Reykjavik at the premises of Hiv-Iceland.
The meeting started off with a presentation from Dr. Andrew Clark, European Medical Director of Viiv Healthcare on the topic ”The malignancy of stigma – the biological and physiological consequences – a public health crisis”. Dr. Clark drew attention to stigma and the link to chronicle stress driving comorbidities and worse health outcomes for people living with hiv. The presentation was followed by continued discussion of examples from the Nordics and analyzing the commonalities among the Nordic countries when it comes to stigma. HIV-Nordic and the member organizations are now in the process to develop pathways that could increase awareness on these issues.
The situation for people living with HIV arriving in the Nordics from Ukraine was another major topic for the weekend. Country comparisons were made in terms of both strategies and practice in handling the refugees arriving in the Nordic countries. From the discussions, HIV-Nordic can conclude that weak points in areas such as routines around HIV-screening, public messaging and accessibility to treatment is evident. A policy update would likely be able to benefit both human rights as well as align with public health goals. A deeper analysis is however needed to pin point appropriate solutions and changes.
Other topics covered at the meeting was HIV and Covid-19 and the effects of the project ”Living with HIV during Covid-19” which took place during 2021. The Monkeypox situation and accessibility to the vaccines were compared, with some rather large differences in access to vaccines emerging. As per usual every organization also gave a country update, including epidemiological trends.
The board concluded the meeting with setting the date for the next network meeting, which will take place 3-5 March 2023 in Helsinki, Finland.
Minutes from the meeting will be published online at hiv-norden.org shortly.