The 2010 Papua New Guinea (PNG) 46th Annual Medical Symposium, August 29 to September 3 2010 was held in the town of Wewak, in the East Sepik River province of PNG. Once again this year, the PNG Sexual Health Society (PNGSHS), in collaboration with ASHM, supported a program at the annual Medical Symposium to promote knowledge and skills for HIV and sexual health treatment and care within the national health workforce.
In the week prior to this year's Symposium, the PNGSHS conducted a 1 week intensive short course in HIV management for health care providers and Dr. Arun Menon, Clinical Adviser in the ASHM International Division, was a guest presenter at this course. Attendees came from across the country, including from a number of treatment sites where ASHM members act as clinical mentors.
For the main Symposium program, ASHM Vice President, Dr Edwina Wright, was an invited speaker. Edwina delivered a key note presentation on HIV and Neurological Diseases and how to diagnose and manage those in patients. This topic is highly pertinent in PNG where increasing numbers of people have been on ARV treatment for some time and where neurological conditions may be undetected, are often stigmatized and cause distress at both individual and community levels. Edwina also gave a presentation at the special meeting of the Sexual Health Society, held on September 4.
ASHM also supported the attendance of Dr Jason Mitchell from Fiji. Jason is the Executive Officer at the Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine (OSSHHM) and he presented on HIV and STI - The Pacific Response and OSSHHM's Role. Both the PNG Sexual Health Society and OSSHHM are members of the Regional Sexual Health and HIV Professional Societies Network (RSPN), auspiced by ASHM, and were keen to develop stronger links and explore opportunities for exchange programs for their members. Many participants at the Symposium were interested in the challenges facing their colleagues in Pacific Island countries and territories.
From the Secretariat, Jacinta Ankus, Senior Project Officer and Edward Reis, Division Manager, attended the Symposium and Sexual Health Society Meeting. ASHM's collaboration with the PNG Sexual Health Society is a mutually beneficial partnership and the annual PNG Medical Symposium provides a showcase event to promote the tremendous work that the PNG Sexual Health Society is doing.