The people who know me best know that I adore this t-shirt
because there is nothing I love better than a new idea. (Thanks for
the creation, People for Urban
Progress! Of course I adore anything made locally in Fountain
Square as well!)
I have spent the week in Boston, completely immersed in new
ideas at the CROI meetings (Conference on Retroviruses and
Opportunistic Infections - basically HIV!) Busy, exhausting, and
completely inspiring. It has been a privilege to network and
present and meet with colleagues from around the world to think
together about new ideas for taking care of children with HIV.
Some of my favorite new ideas for the week:
- Efforts to develop new formulations of HIV medicines for
children that meet my wishlist -- the right doses of the right
medicines for growing children, in versions that they can take
(liquids, granules that can be sprinkled in food) and that do not
taste terrible. (These should not be new ideas, but they are. No
one thinks about kids' medicines.)
- A new project I am leading with sites in Southern Africa and
Asia and East Africa to figure out the best way to measure
children's adherence to HIV medicines.
- Monitoring medication adherence with all sorts of wild,
convenient, innovative technologies that can tell me right away if
a family is having problems with this challenge of having a child
take medicines twice a day, every day.
- A global cohort of children from sites all around the world
that could be put together to answer big questions that we have
about how to take the best care of children with HIV.
- Actually figuring out whether our children's HIV viruses are
becoming resistant to the medicines we are using by doing brand-new
tests to look at the genotyping of the virus.
I was given a brand-new opportunity at this meeting as well; I
was elected as the new chair for the pediatric group of a global
consortium of HIV care sites, the world's biggest collaboration of
HIV care programs. An exciting honor - and a great way to come up
with new ideas for helping kids around the world.
And the pediatric HIV world was also abuzz with the possibility
that we have officially identified another baby who is HIV-free
after really aggressive early treatment of an HIV infection in the
first hours after birth. I would actually bet that there are more
of these HIV remissions in babies (we are reluctant to say "HIV
cure", but it just might be!), but only sites that can do lots and
lots and lots of tests can prove that it's actually happened. Sites
like ours in Kenya can only wonder…
So, lots of new ideas here in Boston. A good week for me.