Conferences, COVID & Replays

Submitted on May 11, 2021 by  Marig2016


I have been HIV positive since 2016, almost five years. When I thought about sharing my story and status publicly, I knew I would eventually attend conferences where I could meet many other amazing women living openly with the condition. I've had dreams about these conferences but I didn't imagine one of my very first conferences would be virtual or conducted during a pandemic. The International Workshop on HIV & Women 2021 was just the second HIV-focused conference I've attended and I was so honored to attend on behalf of The Well Project. A three-day virtual event focused on Women and HIV is monumental in itself, and the fact that I could attend was seriously a blessing!

The nice thing about this being a virtual event was that, if for some reason, like work, I was unable to fully focus on the sessions I planned to attend, I would be able to go back at a later date to give it my undivided attention. Of course, I was not able to fully engage the way I wanted to but I have to say, going back to watch the replay I think was an even better experience because there wasn't the fear of missing something, having technical issues or needing to use the bathroom and missing some pretty important stuff! However, that in-person connection was seriously missed!

Going back and watching the replays actually allowed me to join more than just the sessions that piqued my interest. I must add that this conference was executed in what seemed to be a flawless manner. Presentations started on time and lasted the duration they were planned to last, which showed a true respect for everyone's time. Each day was composed of several sessions with mini presentations for said topic. Topics ranged from COVID-19 impacts including vaccinations, prevention methods, pregnancy, breastfeeding, U = U, mental health, comorbidities and so much more, all with one main theme: WOMEN!

It was truly amazing to see how women were incorporated into all the above-mentioned topics, BUT a common trend was how there needed to be more research, and how women needed to be included! Hearing not only my peers but professionals say this was monumental in my opinion, because it's what so many women living with HIV feel and oftentimes find it difficult to express. We understand we are not seen as a population highly impacted by HIV but we are – and we will continue to be highly impacted if we remain out of research and policy development.

I learned so much from this conference and hope that the specific write-ups I've done (coming soon!), you find to be helpful and thought-provoking in a way that adds fire in your heart but also makes you proud to be a woman living and thriving with HIV.

We're in this together! xoxo


Submitted by JoDha

Love the way you described about the Virtual Conference. I have missed a lot of conferences because unfortuately for me, there are no Close Captions/Subtitles which would enable me to follow the speech. Therefore I always look out for updates in TWP, and learn about the happenings. I also seek Google help to understand what the specific conference is about and the impact it is having. Despite my hearing disability, I keep myself abreast and ahead too by means of worldwide web, which is a boon for me - unlike olden times where there were either Radio or Television to bradcast the message. So, internet has been like a blessing in disguise.

Keep writing in. <3

Submitted by Marig2016

JoDha!! I'm so happy to have you is part of our sisterhood. Reminding us why writing is so important! I'm so happy you found this helpful and hope the additional highlights soon to come you lado find helpful! If there is ever a conference you're interested in but unable to attend due to no subtitles please reach out! I know any one of us would be happy to attend in your behalf !! ❤️

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