The AIDS 2010 rapporteurs held their Summary Session immediately before the Closing Session on Friday. All week long, rapporteurs have been “scurrying around” collecting and synthesizing presentations, according to session Chair Alan Whiteside, Director of the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. The rapporteurs - experienced scientists, clinicians, researchers and advocates from around the world - summarised many of the presentations made during the week, focusing on critical issues addressed, important results presented and key recommendations put forward. The rapporteur reports will be available here and in the Programme-at-a-Glance. More...
By Billie-Jean Nieuwenhuys, Policy Officer, International AIDS Society
The universal access pledge to provide HIV prevention, treatment, care and support to all those in need by 2010 was a key focus of the XVIII International AIDS Conference. There was wide scale agreement that although the commitment will not be achieved this year, the struggle to achieve universal access needs to continue. The conference provided the opportunity to take stock of the universal access pledge and devise strategies for taking the pledge forwards beyond 2010. As Dr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS points out, “it is not a time to scale down, but to scale up.”
The key debates on reaching universal access by 2015 appear to centre around two core issues: raising the overall resource demand from international donors as well as national governments and making more effective and efficient use of the resources available now. The Deputy President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe stated that “It is our duty and responsibility to use the platforms of the G8 and the G20 to advocate for more resources and that even as the world experiences an economic downturn, investments in HIV must not be the soft target for global austerity measures." More...
In the lead up to the AIDS 2010 opening on Sunday, many groups and delegates are already at work on a number of issues that will be key topics in the days ahead.
Young people from around the world gathered for the four-day Youth Pre-Conference to network and gain skills in research, advocacy and communications. For more information, visit the blogs from the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS and Y-Peer.
The International AIDS Society is sponsoring two meetings that run through Saturday. Bridging the Divide: Inter-Disciplinary Partnerships for HIV and Health Systems is bringing together participants from multiple disciplines to discuss options for leveraging HIV programming to improve health systems and other priority health conditions, as well as to highlight priority research areas. Scientists at “Towards a Cure": HIV Reservoirs and Strategies to Control Them are examining cutting edge research developments in this important area -- strategies currently being investigated to control HIV reservoirs may hold the key to a cure for HIV disease in the future. The session is chaired by IAS Governing Council Member and Nobel Laureate Francois Barre-Sinoussi and the programme is now available. More...
Resources for universal access and HIV persistance are among the timely issues featured in a special pre-conference HIV/AIDS edition (8 July) of the journal Science.
“Universal Access in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS” documents the scientific evidence and moral arguments in support of increased investments to scale up HIV prevention, treatment and care towards the goal of universal access, helping to lay the groundwork for what will be a central topic in Vienna.
The article’s authors are Françoise Girard, Nathan Ford, Dr. Julio Montaner, Dr. Pedro Cahn and Dr. Elly Katabira. Girard is Co-Chair and Ford a member of the AIDS 2010 Leadership and Accountability Programme Committee and Dr. Montaner is AIDS 2010 Chair and President of the International AIDS Society (IAS). Dr. Cahn was AIDS 2008 Chair and is IAS Immediate Past-President and Dr. Katabira is IAS President-Elect and will serve as AIDS 2012 Chair.
In their conclusion, the authors note, “A retrenchment on AIDS today would seriously jeopardize the substantial progress made to date, at the cost of untold human sacrifice and billions of dollars in economic resources. Furthermore, the increasingly recognized benefit of ART in reducing HIV transmission dramatically enhances the value of the longstanding universal access pledge. As the deadline for universal access looms, greater investment in HIV is a necessary, evidence- based, economic, and moral choice.”
“HIV Persistence and the Prospect of Long-Term Drug-Free Remissions in HIV-Infected Individuals” was produced in conjunction with the IAS Pre-Conference Workshop Towards a Cure: HIV Reservoirs and Strategies to Control Them, chaired by IAS Governing Council Member and Nobel Laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi of the Institut Pasteur. More...
In its 3 July issue, The Lancet published several articles on HIV/AIDS in preparation for AIDS 2010.
In addition to an editorial, articles examine the effectiveness of nurse-monitored antiretroviral therapy, the impact of political inertia on injecting drug use in Russia and whether intimate partner violence and relationship power inequity increase risk of incident HIV infection in South African women. Another piece looks at plenary speaker Meena Saraswathi Seshu’s work with India’s sex workers, while a review of antiretroviral therapy (“no example since penicillin rivals the development of antiretroviral drugs in controlling a previously fatal infection”) includes a look at key unanswered questions.
The editorial comments on one of the letters in the issue that addresses the differing views among HIV prevention professionals who “lack a forum for constructive face-to-face debate to discuss and advance prevention efforts.” To this end, The Lancet “hopes AIDS 2010 can fill this void, and unite these disparate camps in productive discussions.”
Most of the articles are available online for no charge with free registration required for some.
During AIDS 2010, The Lancet will also publish a series on the global HIV epidemic among people who use drugs. The series will be the focus of a Symposium (TUSY07) on Tuesday, 20 July at 14:30 in Session Room 5. This session will also be webcast.