In contrast to a reduced number of newly infected HIV patients globally, there is an increased incidence of HIV in China in the last decade.This has alerted political leadership and thus consolidation of public health in regard to the HIV epidemic has been prioritized by the national health agenda. The epidemic pattern has shifted from intravenous drug users towards the general population, with the highest increase noticed in men who have sex with men. This underscores the importance of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the prevention and control of the HIV epidemic. Another important consideration is the social stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV still prevalent across the country.
Viral hepatitis has also proven to be a major burden. An estimated 257 million people are infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and 71 million with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide, with China being one of the most heavily impacted countries. Chronic infection may lead to liver cirrhosis, cancer, and other complications. A recently implemented nationwide vaccination program against HBV has significantly reduced prevalence in the younger population. However, the elimination of mother-to-child transmission by 2030 requires additional effective strategies. In stark contrast to Europe and the United States, where less than 5% of infections develop into chronic liver diseases, in Asia, most HBV infections occur at an early stage, which is associated with an increased risk of viral persistence and development of chronic infection. This could, at least in part, be explained by the region-specific distribution of HBV genotypes and the mode of transmission.
Viral hepatitis and HIV are major health and economic burdens in the Asian region. The continuing development of novel therapeutic options highlights a sustained need for clinicians and researchers to discuss the recent advances and their implications for clinical practice. This meeting aims at bridging the gap between the knowledge that is shared among experts in the field and the knowledge of researchers and clinicians in daily practice. Furthermore, this meeting provides a much-needed educational platform for researchers and clinicians involved in the daily clinical management of HBV, HCV and HIV-positive patients. We believe this meeting will create a good opportunity for regional clinicians, researchers and pharmaceutical companies to meet each other and share knowledge.
We look forward to welcoming you to Kunming!
Local Chair (2020)