Message from the Executive

I am not sure if I am the only one who feels this way, but sometimes I feel we are fighting a losing battle. It seems that the numbers and the challenges are overwhelming. But, something happened in the last few weeks that reminded me never to give up in fighting for the healthcare rights of all South Africans. Michelle Moorehouse, a member of our board, was incensed by an advertisement for Pre-Sex gel. This clearly unregistered product was being manufactured and sold by a doctor in Port Elizabeth. Michelle did not want anyone to buy this gel and to think that they were protected from HIV. She drafted a passionate letter that was sent off to a number of key stakeholders, including the Registrar of Medicine. The Medicines Control Council (MCC) visited the doctor’s rooms, withdrew the product and stopped all sales. Who knows how many lives have been saved as a consequence? Well done to Michelle. We need to fight each battle that comes our way with the same dedication.

On the real prevention front, there has been some good news. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has registered Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis for men and women. Much media frenzy has surrounded this announcement, with the common question: ‘Does this mean we can abandon condoms?’ There is not going to be a one-size-fits-all for HIV prevention, but each new intervention will contribute in some way.

To all members, members' friends and potential members, please remember that the first Southern African HIV Clinicians Society Conference will be held in Cape Town at the end of this year. Please put the dates 25 - 28 November 2012 into your diaries, register for the conference, and make travel arrangements accordingly.

Francesca Conradie


Southern African HIV Clinicians Society


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