SHIFTS in the way HIV is prevented and discussed in Australia occur all the time, but many don’t stop to consider what causes these shifts.

On World AIDS Day the Melbourne HIV Exchange (mHIVE) will hold a half day symposium to do exactly that. The symposium will include the inaugural ViiV Healthcare Young Investigator Award that will see six emerging students and early career researchers present abstracts showcasing their research areas.

Several other presentations will take place across the day covering both the clinical and community perspective to the current state of the global epidemic and how scientists and clinicians can better engage with the affected community.

The ViiV Healthcare Young Investigator Award will be awarded to the best junior investigator for their poster and abstract submission.

All these advancements in HIV prevention and research are inching Australia closer to its target of ending new HIV transmissions by 2020, and members of the community, clinicians, and researchers are largely to thank.

ViiV Healthcare Australia medical director Dr Fraser Drummond believes the awards will recognise those who are in the early stages of their career and are undertaking important work in HIV research.

“ViiV Healthcare chose to sponsor these awards because we feel it is important to support and foster the next generation of researchers who are helping to drive our understanding of, and response to, HIV,” Dr Drummond said.

University of Melbourne Professor and Doherty Institute director Sharon Lewin believes the mHIVE signifies how far the HIV community has come.

“In Melbourne we have such a vibrant HIV research community who understands the importance of working in partnership with people living with HIV,” Professor Lewin said.

“It will be the next generation of activists, scientists, and politicians, such as the winners of the awards, that will be instrumental in delivering a world without HIV.”

Alongside the symposium and the ViiV Healthcare Young Investigator Awards, Living Positive Victoria will host a community forum that will be launched by Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy.

The winner of the ViiV Healthcare Young Investigator Award will be announced on World AIDS Day (December 1).

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