Once every four years, BHIVA and BASHH come together to hold a joint conference and in 2018 Edinburgh was selected as the city for this collaborative conference which attracts up to 1000 delegates.
Please tell us about the collaboration between British HIV Association (BIV) and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH)
BHIVA is the leading UK association representing professionals in HIV care. Since 1995, we have been committed to providing excellent care for people living with and affected by HIV. BHIVA is a national advisory body on all aspects of HIV care and we provide a national platform for HIV care issues. Our representatives contribute to international, national and local committees dealing with HIV care. In addition, we promote undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education within HIV care.
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV - BASHH - was formed in 2003 through the merger of the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases (MSSVD; established 1922) and the Association for Genitourinary Medicine (AGUM; established 1992).
We were delighted to welcome your fourth joint conference to Edinburgh in April 2018, what attracted the conference to Edinburgh and what are the key requirements when selecting a host destination?
It was a pleasure to bring the conference to Edinburgh, a representative of EICC came to meet us at our offices in March 2015 to pitch for the EICC to hold the joint conference in 2018. They were really attentive, understood our event well and had done their research prior to meeting us. They listened to our requirements for the conference and were able to hold the dates and send over a proposal. Since we were working on behalf of two charitable associations, it was important for the proposal to meet within the set budgets of the charities. Birmingham, Dublin and Edinburgh were shortlisted as potential host cities for the conference, all of which could accommodate the conference. Edinburgh was selected for a number of reasons; these were the good transport links, the EICC’s flexibility to meet the conference requirements and budget as well as the history and beauty of the city, which was also a big draw.
What were the objectives of the conference?
The main objective of the conference was to educate and update healthcare professionals on the latest treatments available in HIV and Sexual Health. It was also an opportunity for colleagues working in these specialist areas to share their research through abstract / case submission and also share their experiences and network amongst peers.
In your opinion, what were the main highlights of the conference?
There were many highlights to the conference from a programme perspective. This was thanks to the Joint Conference Committee who spent a lot of time ensuring that the programme would meet the needs of attendees. The selection of world renowned speakers in the programme also meant that conference was well attended and rated highly by delegates. In my personal opinion, the Civic Welcome Reception speeches by the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland and Deputy Lord Provost were excellent and one of the best moments of the conference.
Did the delegates take part in any social activities whilst in Edinburgh? If so, what activities were of interest?
The conference held a Speakers Dinner at Pompadour by Galvin at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and this went down a treat with our committee members and speakers. The food, service and ambience were all fantastic, some even commented that it was the best Speakers’ Dinner they had been to, which was flattering considering the types of venue that the Speakers Dinner had been held at in the past.
A Gala Dinner took place at the Assembly Rooms on George Street, this was attended by 350 guests. The entertainment on the night by DJ Paddy (booked through DJ Edinburgh) was very well received by our guests. If and when we return to Edinburgh in the future, we will certainly be booking DJ Paddy again.
A community dinner was held at Gusto on Wednesday evening in parallel to the Speakers’ Dinner. Guests who attended this dinner enjoyed the food and ambience of the restaurant. Gusto were very accommodating and flexible and were kind enough to put together a bespoke package to meet the budgets for this dinner.
In addition to the above our delegates were provided with the map and list of restaurants by Marketing Edinburgh, these were included within their conference bags. This was very useful as it helped guide delegates around the city and also gave them discounts at restaurants, shops and attractions throughout the city.