CROI for the Community
March 10, 2016
I have a love-hate relationship with the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). The 12-hour days of high science can be overwhelming, and even after being deliberate about building down time into my schedule, I still crashed and burned before the end of Day 3. (It took the entire week to adjust to the time difference between East and West coasts, and after the daily 7 am Community Educator Breakfast Updates, I struggled to stay awake and alert for the morning plenary sessions.) But I survived!
There are always major headlines coming out of meetings like CROI. As a biomedical research advocate, my inner nerd gets super-excited about things like Phase 2 study results from MTN 017 (a rectal microbicide study), but at CROI I'm a community educator. I try my best to take off my research nerd hat for a few days and tune my ears to hear what members of my community will find useful right now. (I'll have plenty of time and dozens of webinars to help me grasp all of the high-level science presented at CROI so that my inner nerd will be ready for additional updates during the International AIDS Conference in July.)
The week after returning to Oakland from Boston, I shared information with the staff working at AIDS Project of the East Bay (APEB) and with community members participating in a series of breakfast discussions coordinated through my ministry at the Imani Community Church in partnership with the East Bay HIV Faith Collaborative. This is what I told them:
Then we spent a little time talking about things I heard at CROI that probably won't make headlines:
Another CROI is in the books (and on webcast). It will likely take months for my inner research advocacy nerd to wrap my head around all of the science, but now that my sleep pattern and weather conditions are closer to California-normal, the community educator in me is very happy.
Rob Newells is the newly appointed Executive Director of AIDS Project of the East Bay. He is minister and founder of the the HIV program at Imani Community Church in Oakland and has been an AVAC PxROAR member since 2012.
This article was provided by AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention. It is a part of the publication The 23rd Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Visit AVAC's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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