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Children Need Family Support First

Posted 21 July 2010, 12:20 P, by Conference Secretariat

by John Miller, Projects Coordinator, Coalition on Children Affected by AIDS

For the third time since AIDS 2006, the Coalition on Children Affected by AIDS and The Teresa Group co-hosted a symposium on children affected by HIV/AIDS. Titled “Children and HIV: Family Support First,” the symposium provided an important and targeted opportunity to probe topics and issues focused on improving how best to support families and younger children in the battle against HIV/AIDS.  The symposium drew 440 attendees from 67 countries.
As Graca Machel told symposium attendees via video: “When one child dies needlessly from HIV/AIDS, it creates a tragic ripple that will harm our world for generations to come.” She urged attendees to join the growing Campaign to End Pediatric HIV/AIDS (CEPA). 

Elizabeth Mwenya of the Zambian Network of People Living With HIV and AIDS speaks at the the conference.

The symposium’s theme was family-centred prevention, treatment and care for children, with a strong emphasis on eliminating pediatric AIDS and reducing maternal mortality while expanding and connecting services related to the care and support of children.  Nearly one in five maternal deaths can be linked to HIV. More...

Photos: Human Rights March

Posted 21 July 2010, 09:31 A, by Conference Secretariat

HIV/AIDS and Human Rights: Now More Than Ever! was the rallying cry shouted by thousands of people who gathered last night in the center of Vienna to march for human rights.  Here are some scenes from the march and performances.  For more photos, click here.

 ©IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos

 ©IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos

 ©IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos

 ©IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos

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Global Leaders Call for End to Homophobia and Human Rights Abuses

Posted 21 July 2010, 05:28 A, by Conference Secretariat

By Jack Beck, MSMGF Communications Associate

In response to skyrocketing HIV prevalence rates among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) around the world, global health leaders have called for an end to the human rights abuses against MSM that contribute to HIV vulnerability.  The call came on Saturday at BE HEARD, an all-day pre-conference event hosted by the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) to address soaring global rates of HIV among MSM. 
The event showcased presentations from more than 100 of the world’s top experts on the health and human rights of sexual minorities. With over 500 attendees from more than 80 countries, the event was the largest gathering of its kind. 

Othman Mellouk, MSMGF Co-Chair and President of Morocco's Association de Lutte Contre le Sida Maroc, and Dr. Robert Carr, MSMGF Co-Chair and Associate Director of Policy & Advocacy at the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations

The opening plenary featured the unveiling of a groundbreaking Johns Hopkins/World Bank global survey of HIV epidemics among MSM in the year 2010.  The study indicated HIV prevalence rates as high as 21.4% in Malawi, 13.8% in Peru and 23% in Thailand.  The data reveals the current state of the HIV epidemic among MSM to be characterized by ongoing epidemics in low- and middle-income countries, resurgent epidemics in high-income countries, and the discovery of new epidemics in areas that previously had no data. 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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Resources on the CAPRISA Microbicide Trial

Posted 20 July 2010, 03:18 P, by Conference Secretariat

[Updated at 20:00 on 20 July]

When the story about the CAPRISA 004 trial results broke on 19 July, there was flurry of public statements and news stories that reflected the promising nature of the results and the impact they could eventually have on HIV prevention scale up. The trial tested the safety and effectiveness of 1% tenofovir gel, an antiretroviral-based vaginal microbicide among nearly 900 women at two sites in South Africa. Trial results were presented at AIDS 2010 on 20 July.

We have gathered some links and statements for more information.



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In Vienna or at Home, Take Short Online Surveys to Evaluate AIDS 2010

Posted 20 July 2010, 01:51 P, by Conference Secretariat

Your opinions matter! 
Delegates Instant Poll
If you are attending the conference, take the Delegates Instant Poll and tell us your favorite presenters and sessions. The anonymous survey only takes two minutes to complete. Your contribution will help create an even better experience in 2012!  Click here

Online Followers
If you are following the conference online, your feedback can help us improve the virtual experience for AIDS 2012.  Click here.
After the Conference
Following the conference, delegates are invited to complete the post-conference online survey that will be emailed in August.
The Evaluation Report containing the results of the surveys will be posted on the AIDS 2010 website in early 2011.
Conference organizers are committed to reporting back about the findings and constantly improving your International AIDS Conference experience.


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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...

Powerful Words at Opening Session

Posted 19 July 2010, 08:24 A, by Conference Secretariat

Presenters at the Opening Session spoke boldly about the state of the epidemic and the steps necessary to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

A full webcast and audio of Sunday’s Opening Session is available here. Photos here. Quotes from some of the speakers follow with more to be added.

Julio Montaner, (Canada) AIDS 2010 Chair, President of the International AIDS Society and Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, Canada

“I cannot hide my profound disappointment and deep frustration with the recently concluded G8/G20 meetings in Canada. By failing to take responsibility for the universal access pledge, and more importantly for failing to articulate next steps to meet not just the 6th Millenium Development Goal but all of them by 2015, the G8 has, quite simply, failed us.”

 (c)IAS/Marcus Rose/Workers' Photos

“When it comes to universal access, the G8 chose to ignore their commitments before the crisis, and they are poised to continue to do so today. Let’s be clear: It is only a matter of priorities and, friends, their priorities have to change. Therefore, our number one objective here today must be to ensure that AIDS remains at the top of their agenda.”

Full remarks.

Brigitte Schmied, AIDS 2010 Local Co-Chair and President of the Austrian AIDS Society, Austria

“Rights Here, Right Now also emphasizes the right to health care, including access to all scientifically sound HIV prevention interventions, such as opioid substitution therapy and needle and syringe programmes.  To this end, I urge each of you to add your voice to the growing call for the reform of illicit drug policies by signing the Vienna Declaration.  Treatment, not prosecution, is demanded!”

“In our shrinking world, the goal of universal access and global health can no longer be viewed as a story about ‘others.’ These are our stories. Universal access is our responsibility. And, holding ourselves and our political leaders accountable is our continued challenge. Let us meet this challenge with tenacity and fervour in the days and months ahead.”

Full remarks.

Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mali

“The shared responsibility we have to the world belongs to all governments, civil society, and every agency – bilateral, multilateral and normative.  The time has come for a Robin Hood tax, so the financial sector contributes its fair share as well. Our vision must be uncompromising.  We want nothing less than: Zero new infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

“Gender equality must become part of our DNA.” 

Heinz Fischer, Federal President of the Republic of Austria

“Even if I fully support that free, gender-balanced access to treatment is a fundamental human right, we will not be able to contain the epidemic any time if we do not implement an integrated approach of prevention, care and treatment.”

“I strongly urge governments, where they have not yet done so, to institute and ensure the enforcement of laws and to create a legal framework enabling the implementation of all measures needed in the successful fight against HIV/AIDS.”

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Rights Here, Right Now: What’s Faith Got to Do with It?

Posted 19 July 2010, 06:25 A, by Conference Secretariat

By Sara Speicher, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

A multi-faith meeting on the eve of the XVIII International AIDS Conference called for faith communities to keep commitments they have made to promote universal access, overcome stigma and discrimination and become welcoming communities for people living with HIV.

"This has to do with a basic issue of justice," said Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches in an address to the 17 July multi-faith conference at Vienna's Technical University. The conference gathered more than 250 people, including leaders of religious groups, networks of people living with HIV and international organizations, under the theme Rights Here, Right Now: What's faith got to do with it? The conference was organized by a multi-faith working group convened by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.

Tveit was part of an opening panel looking at how faith traditions promote work towards universal access to HIV treatment, care, support and prevention. He recalled that in 1987 the main governing body of the Geneva-based WCC had affirmed the "right to medical and pastoral care regardless of socio-economic status, race, sex, sexual orientation or sexual relationship. We should keep our commitments to do what we know we have to do," said Tveit. More...

A Message of Solidarity from Debra Messing

Posted 17 July 2010, 06:21 A, by Conference Secretariat

By Debra Messing, actress and PSI Ambassador

As I sit in the production office of the new television pilot I am working on, I keep thinking about all of you in Vienna, including my friend Tears. My plan was to be with her – and with all of you – at the International AIDS Conference but unfortunately work has kept me away. 
Tears and I met late last year in a hair salon in the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe. To be specific, I met her at her place of work, the Black Beauty Hair Salon and Butchery. That’s right...on one side it’s a hair salon and on the other, a butcher. This program is one of the most ingenious I have seen in my time as a PSI Ambassador.  With support from UKaid, PSI developed a programme to reach vulnerable women through a nationwide network of hairdressers – 1,500 to be exact. The hairdressers double as peer educators and talk to women about HIV prevention, birth spacing, family planning and overall risk reduction. They also distribute the Care female condom.

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the salon. I pictured a clinical discussion on HIV prevention and the smell of perming solution. What I found was very different. More...