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Rapporteur Summaries

Posted 23 July 2010, 11:14 A, by Conference Secretariat

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...

First Lady of Georgia Signs Vienna Declaration

Posted 22 July 2010, 07:04 A, by Conference Secretariat

 
 ©IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos

The First Lady of Georgia, Sandra Roelofs, today endorsed the Vienna Declaration witha crowd of media, Dr. Evan Wood, Founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy and one of the authors of the declaration, and Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, looking on. 

The declaration – the official declaration of AIDS 2010 – is a scientific statement seeking to address the HIV epidemic among persons who inject drugs, among other harms, through the incorporation of scientific evidence into drug policies.  The Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Irakli Giorgobiani, and the Deputy Chairman of Parliament of Georgia, George Tsereteli, also signed the declaration.

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AIDS 2010 Delegates March for Human Rights

Posted 21 July 2010, 05:56 P, by Conference Secretariat

By Tyrone Hall, Vienna Youth Force Youth Journalist and Graduate Student at Clark University, United States

Thousands of delegates attending the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) and local residents marched last night to call for human rights to be included as a fundamental component of efforts to prevent new infections and provide treatment for people living with HIV.

The march echoed the theme of the conference, Rights Here, Right Now, through chants, vuvuzelas and singing of some well-coined phrases and tunes. The march culminated in a concert laced with spirited speeches and a captivating performance by Annie Lennox.


(c)IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos

The messages echoed during the march were varied but connected by one common cause: justice for all. Some groups called for greater respect to be extended to members of the LGBT community in parts of the world where stigma has made the fight against AIDS nearly impossible, particularly among men who have sex with men. Other groups called for the examination of the rights of women in the context of HIV, especially in light of the positive microbicide trial results released Monday. Several groups also called for greater resources to be put into treatment and programmes for drug users. More...

Lancet Special Series Features Vienna Declaration Article

Posted 20 July 2010, 04:19 P, by Conference Secretariat

The Lancet released a special series on HIV in people who use drugs, including a commentary on the Vienna Declaration, the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS Conference. The Vienna Declaration seeks to improve community health and safety by calling for the inclusion of science-based evidence in illicit drug policies in order to reduce drug-related harms, including HIV, among people who use drugs.

Other articles in the series cover issues surrounding antiretroviral therapy, opioid substitution therapy and needle and syringe programmes, as well as social issues, such as human rights, decriminalization, stigmatisation and imprisonment of people who use drugs.

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Bill Gates - Building on Success: A Roadmap for HIV Prevention

Posted 19 July 2010, 10:21 A, by Conference Secretariat

By Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [Cross-posted from the Gates Foundation Blog]

I’m honored to speak at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna today. This conference marks an important turning point in the fight against AIDS.

There are good reasons to be hopeful – we have seen amazing progress. The number of people getting treatment for AIDS has increased twelve-fold since 2003. The people at this conference and major partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and PEPFAR have helped make this possible.

 
 Credit: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

At the same time, we have to recognize that these are tough times for those of us who are passionate about fighting HIV. Economic turbulence has driven up government deficits, and some countries have responded by reducing their investments in global health. These are the challenges we all face, but they don’t have to define our time. More...

A Pivotal Moment in the Global Response to HIV

Posted 18 July 2010, 09:07 A, by Julio Montaner, AIDS 2010 Conference Chair

[Originally posted 14 June 2010]

AIDS 2010 will take place at a pivotal time in the HIV epidemic. This is the target year that the leaders of the Group of 8 (G8) -- and eventually all UN member states -- set for achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Since the universal access target was set five years ago, we have made significant strides:

  • By December 2008, over four million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries, one million more than in the previous year.
  • Almost half of all pregnant women living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries received antiretrovirals to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
  • More people were counseled and tested for HIV in 2008 than in previous years.
  • More children living with HIV are benefiting from treatment and care programmes.

 

Kicosehp NGO, Kibera Community Self Help programme, Kenya. Credit: UNAIDS/G. Pirozzi.

Though we still have far to go, this progress is tangible evidence of the feasibility of scaling up HIV programmes, even in the poorest areas. More...

Vienna and Austria Welcoming the World

Posted 18 July 2010, 08:50 A, by Brigitte Schmied, Local Conference Co-Chair

[Originally posted 14 June 2010]

The people of Vienna and all of Austria are eager to welcome the world to Vienna next month for AIDS 2010. We are proud to build on our city’s rich history as a bridge between East and West and to host the International AIDS Conference at such an important crossroads in our collective efforts to reverse the course of the epidemic. It is our hope that AIDS 2010 will deepen the understanding of how the promotion and protection of human rights is a prerequisite to an effective and evidence-based response to HIV.  

Brigitte Schmied, Local Co-Chair, AIDS 2010, with Sonja Wehsely, Health Counselor, City of Vienna, Agnes Husslein-Arco, Director, Belvedere, and Norbert Kettner, Director, Vienna Tourism at the announcement of the Vienna Cultural Programme.

Local preparations for the conference began two years ago and we have benefitted from a number of important partnerships. The City of Vienna and the Federal Ministry of Health provided key financial support, and Austrian NGOs, including the Austrian AIDS Society (ÖAG) and organizing partners Aids Hilfe Wien and Community Forum Austria, are actively engaged and have helped lay the foundation for success.  ÖAG and AIDS Life also supported scholarships for participants from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), and we are expecting a large local turnout at the Global Village and a warm welcome for the human rights march on 20 July. More...

Montaner: Why I Support the Vienna Declaration

Posted 17 July 2010, 04:52 A, by Julio Montaner, AIDS 2010 Conference Chair
By Julio Montaner, MD, AIDS 2010 Chair, Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and President, International AIDS Society

I support the Vienna Declaration because we, as a global society, are at a critical juncture with respect to our efforts to control the spread of HIV among injection drug users, and we must not let it pass us by. 

Thanks to a critical mass of scientific evidence we know with certainty we can halt the spread of HIV in this population simply through providing HIV treatment, clean needles and evidence-based addiction treatments like opioid substitution therapy, supervised injection sites and medicalized heroin. 

(c) International AIDS Society/Simon Deinir/SDR Photo

Remarkably, there is also a critical mass of scientific evidence regarding the unintended negative consequences of policies based exclusively on drug law enforcement.  We have to recognize that the war on drugs has not only failed to reduce illicit drug supply and use, but it has also resulted in a range of human rights violations, drug market violence and HIV and HCV epidemics among users. More...

Engage Locally @ AIDS 2010

Posted 13 July 2010, 12:18 A, by Conference Secretariat

Learning opportunities in Vienna will not be limited to the Messe Wien. Engagement Tours – available to delegates at no cost – are a great way to see and learn from local groups responding to HIV and illicit drug use, and to share your knowledge and experiences with others.

Tours will visit a range of institutions, including the harm reduction programme at the police detention centre, a drug treatment programme offering opioid substitution therapy, an HIV social service NGO, a hospital-based HIV clinic and more.

Tours are offered Monday through Thursday from 11:00 to 14:00 and 15:00 to 18:00 and each tour visits two or three programmes. Volunteers will guide the delegates to participating institutions via public transport. Click here to read more and sign up for a tour. 

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Kazatchkine: Why I Support the Vienna Declaration

Posted 07 July 2010, 01:18 A, by Conference Secretariat

By Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

I support the Vienna Declaration because, in most countries, approaches to drug use focus overwhelmingly on criminalization and the imposition of harsh penalties rather than public health measures. As a result, people who use illegal drugs worldwide continue being denied harm reduction services, have poor and inequitable access to antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection, suffer abuse and sometimes torture at the hand of law enforcement officials, and are often incarcerated for lengthy periods of time simply for using or possessing drugs.

These human rights abuses are reported from all regions of the world. They are abhorrent in themselves and we must fight them for this reason alone. Furthermore, they increase people’s vulnerability to HIV and negatively affect the delivery of HIV programmes. Much more needs to happen to fight these abuses. More...