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.”
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.”
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.”