Community Content

A welcome address from Amsterdam 

Sexual diversity and the city” is the theme of the @STIHIV2021 STI & HIV World Congress 2021 and our mission is to address diversity, health and sexuality in the urban context. Why? Over 60% of the current world population live in urbanised settings, places where a large portion of the STI epidemic is also focused. At the same time, urban environments offer networks, infrastructures, multidisciplinarity and creativity from which solutions can emerge. Martin van Oostrom & Henry de Vries show you some historical points in Amsterdam and their connection with sexually transmitted infections. Morover, Tyna Adebowale, talks about her work as an artist working on queer identity and colonialism and the importance of sexual health.

STI and HIV 2021 World Congress: taking virtual and accessibility to another level

“Sexual Diversity and the City” is the theme of this “very special edition” of the STI & HIV 2021 World Congress. People from all walks of life are welcomed and some being able to participate for free! Sexually Transmitted Infections ( is the official journal of the STI & HIV 2021 World Congress, held as a virtual event on 14-17 July. The mission is to address diversity, health, and sexuality in the urban context. This bi-annual meeting is organised by the International Society for STD Research (ISSTDR) in collaboration with the International Union against STI World (IUSTI World) and is dedicated to STI in its broadest sense. Check out all the details on the website and listen to the extended podcast about the congress here:…

Dear visitor, 

This year, we commemorate the start of the HIV & AIDS epidemic that began 40 years ago when the first patients were diagnosed in 1981. Those affected most by the AIDS epidemic were instrumental in getting us to where we are today. Communities demanded access to scientific AIDS conferences and the right to be involved, contribute and decide together with scientists and policy makers on urgent research matters that affected their daily lives. Today (with proper access to care), HIV is no longer the death sentence that it once was. The end of the epidemic is no longer a dream but an achievable goal.

In the past, the STI & HIV World Congress was focused on a scientific audience and discourse. This year however, we have decided to do things differently. We strongly believe that all good science starts with the inclusion and participation of groups that are affected most by the results of research. Unfortunately, community involvement is still rare in the broader field of STI research.

Therefore, we would like to invite you to join us during this year’s congress to hear about your experiences and needs. To share knowledge and design a future of research that benefits us all.

Wherever and whenever

The COVID pandemic has forced us to organise a virtual meeting instead of a physical one. This has given us the opportunity to offer you easier and instant access to the conference, wherever you are. You will be able to watch all content at your own convenience through our online congress platform.  

To ease navigation of the congress, we have created several roadmaps focussing on different themes that will be of interest to you. See this as an introduction into the world of STI, HIV & sexual health research. Aside from over 400 prerecorded talks and presentations, we will organise live talk shows, debates and webinars where you can actively participate and interact with the presenters via our chat channels. In addition, we also invited several community leaders to share their experiences and discuss their views on STI&HIV related topics with the doctors and scientists who are at the frontiers of medical sexual health.

I hope that you enjoy this experience and that it will be a start of your continued involvement in the STI&HIV research field. In the end, these topics are too important to just leave to science only.

They affect us all.

Henry De Vries

Congress chairperson 2021

We’ve all had our own personal experiences with STIs and HIV.

But what about the experiences of those working from within the health sector?

We interviewed several doctors, scientists and community members on their most impactful moment STI and HIV moment and how these experiences have shaped them and their outlook.

Bakita Kasadha: Reflecting on community leadership in research

Yogan Pillay: Implementation & monitoring national programs

Shruta Rawat: Strengthening communities’ response, stake, and engagement in HIV/STI research

Justin Smith: Implementation Science – from theory to practice

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you get all your STI test results while you wait in the clinic?

Not only does it saves you time, but the sooner you are treated the least likely that you transmit infections to your partners. With rapid diagnostics the fight against STIs will become a lot easier.

Find out where the research stands and when to expect a diagnosis on the spot.

Symposium 8: Implementing home-based and internet-based STI screening and testing programs

Oral session 17: Health care services

170 Expanding syphilis test uptake using rapid dual self-testing for syphilis and HIV among MSM: A randomised controlled trial in China

PrEP is a powerful biomedical intervention that can prevent HIV.

You need to take a pill daily or when you are going to have sex. What are the experiences of PrEP users? Are they PrEP hero’s or PrEP whores? What are the implications for the safe sex advice to always use condoms? Are there new developments on the horizon, like long-acting PrEP that you can take monthly? Check it out in the video and during the conference!

Talkshow 3: Fast track cities, getting to zero HIV infections (15 July)

Talkshow 8: Optimal PrEP access (16 July)

210 Limited HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Uptake among Chinese Men Who Have Sex with Men– Qualitative Analysis and Potential for an App

75 Trends in Discussion of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV on Reddit, 2014-2019

278 How can we enhance the implementation of PrEP? Developing evidence-based and theory-informed recommendations from Scotland’s national PrEP programme

Women are disproportionally affected by STIs and HIV.

Sexual and reproductive rights are closely related and unalienable. Science and research can help to tackle the situations where women’s rights are violated. Learn more about the causes of women’s sexual health inequality here.

Symposium 1: Genital Microbiome and Reproductive Health

Symposium 4: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Oral Session 2: Vaginal Microbiota

Oral Session 3: Bacterial Vaginosis

Oral Session 16: Female reproductive health for STIs and HIV

O16.5 Young Women Rising: Connecting Young Women Living with HIV in the UK

Sex work is a hot topic.

This has been the case through the ages and it will continue to be debated in the future. What are the sex workers needs? What can society offer them? Should sex work be criminalised to stop human trafficking or should we empower sex workers to keep them safe? Let’s start to listen to a sex worker and someone who studies their needs in the clip. More to follow in the conference!

Sex Work: Community engagement session (14 July)

249 The Impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on the Health and Social Needs of Sex Workers in Singapore

146 Which psychosocial interventions improve sex worker wellbeing? A systematic review of evidence from resource rich countries

Transgender persons are stigmatized and discriminated across the globe.

They have special health needs that are often hard to come by. Transgender health is an under explored topic. More research is necessary to ensure healthy and safe lives for transgender persons. Where to start? By listening to their needs.

Talkshow 6: Transgender health, needs and opportunities (16 July)

Symposium 6: A Holistic Approach to Transgender Health

Oral Session 15: LGBTQ Populations – Trans and Bi

372 Integrating care for trans people: The Transclinic, a collaboration between Trans United Europe and the Public Health Service of Amsterdam

What makes a person at risk for STI & HIV?

Is it stigma & discrimination? Lack of access to care? Lack of health knowledge?

Words matter; is the label “risk group” in itself stigmatizing? Is “risk behaviour” scientifically accurate?

We take a closer look at these current concepts. Join in since it is too important to leave it to scientists only!

Elizabeth Bukusi: Prioritizing non-HIV STI interventions in low resource settings

Talkshow 2: The syphilis epidemic (14 July)

Talkshow 3: Fast track cities, getting to zero HIV infection (15 July)

Talkshow 4: Health care for STIs, the future? (15 July)

Talkshow 5: Access to HIV testing/Care for diverse communities (15 July)

Symposium 5: Youth in the Global South and Sexual Health

Oral Session 12: HIV

Oral Session 14: LGBTQ Populations – MSM

251 Effect of a web drama video series on HIV/STI testing among gay men in Singapore: a pragmatic, randomised controlled trial

127 Pathways between intersectional stigma, gender equitable norms, and condom outcomes among urban refugee and displaced youth in Kampala, Uganda

448 Love in Lockdown: Relationship Stress, Dating Violence and STI Risk in Adolescent and Young Adult Relationships during the COVID-19 Pandemic