Melbourne selected to host world's largest conference on HIV and AIDS
Australia's strong political, scientific and civil society commitment to ending the HIV epidemic both nationally and throughout the Asia Pacific region among reasons for selection of Melbourne as host for the XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014)
29 November, Geneva, Switzerland. - Melbourne, Australia has been chosen to host the XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), the largest international conference on HIV and AIDS, where every two years up to 25,000 participants, representing all stakeholders in the global response to HIV, meet to assess progress and identify future priorities. AIDS 2014 will be the twentieth in the series of International AIDS Conferences.
AIDS 2014 is organized by the International AIDS Society (IAS) in partnership with selected government, scientific and civil society partners from Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region, as well as international partners from civil society and the United Nations. With a strong focus on Asia Pacific, one of the two local scientific, community and leadership partners will be chosen from the wider Asia and Pacific regions and one each from Australia.
"The IAS is extremely pleased to partner with the City of Melbourne, the State Government of Victoria, the Federal Government of Australia and with various scientific and community leaders from the host country as well as from Asia and the Pacific with a long and impressive history of leadership on HIV," said IAS President-elect and Nobel Laureate Prof. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit at the Institute Pasteur in Paris and International Conference Chair for AIDS 2014.
"As the region with the largest geographic area and population, dramatically varying levels of wealth, and a complex mix of structural and behavioural determinants of risk, experts from the region have a unique perspective on the epidemic. Hosting AIDS 2014 in Melbourne will make it possible for these experts to attend the conference and share their successes and challenges on a global level," added Prof. Barré-Sinoussi.
Prof. Sharon Lewin,Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Alfred Hospital, Professor of Medicine at Monash University and co-head, Centre for Virology at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, has been named Local Co-chair of AIDS 2014.Lewin is a former President of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM),the peak Australasian organization representing the medical and health sector in HIV, viral hepatitis and related areas.
"The Australian health policy response to HIV has been characterized as emerging from the grassroots rather than top-down, with a high degree of partnership between scientists, government and community. AIDS 2014 will be a great opportunity to share the benefits of such partnerships with other countries," said Prof. Sharon Lewin.
"The Australian government also has a strong international development strategy for HIV, with particular focus on Papua New Guinea (PNG), East and South Asia and the Pacific Islands. As well as focusing international attention on Australia's national response, the conference will highlight the diverse HIV epidemic patterns and responses in the Asia Pacific region and has the potential to positively impact the HIV responses throughout the whole region," added Prof. Lewin.
AIDS 2014 will be held in July at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Melbourne has a long history in staging successful major events and conferences, is constantly adding to its infrastructure and has an established reputation as one of the world's leading business events destinations.
"We are excited about welcoming the world's top HIV scientists and policy experts to Melbourne," said Karen Bolinger, CEO of the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB). "This is the largest medical conference ever to be held in Australia and is a testament to the country's deserved reputation as a leader in HIV/AIDS research. Hosting AIDS 2014 in Melbourne will not only have a positive health and social impact on the state of Victoria, but is also expected to generate approximately US$84 million for the Victorian state economy."
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in 2009 an estimated 4.9 million people in Asia were living with HIV, including 360,000 who became newly infected that year. The overall trends in this region hide important variation in the epidemics, both between and within countries. Most national HIV epidemics appear to have stabilized and no country in the region has a generalized epidemic. However, in many countries in the region, the epidemic is concentrated in a relatively small number of provinces. Injecting drug users, men who have sex with men and sex workers and their clients have accounted for most of the new infections, and ongoing transmission to the female partners of drug users and the clients of sex workers is becoming apparent.
The HIV epidemic in the Pacific region is small, but the number of people living with HIV in this region nearly doubled between 2001 and 2009-from 28,000 to 57,000. However, the number of people newly infected with HIV has begun to decline from 4,700 in 2001 to 4,500 in 2009. The HIV epidemics in this region are mainly driven by sexual transmission.
In July 2012, the International AIDS Conference will be held in Washington, D.C, and the previous International AIDS Conference was held in Vienna, Austria in 2010. With more than 2,500 international journalists expected to attend the conference next year, it is the single most widely covered health event in the world.
Melbourne was selected to host AIDS 2014 following an evaluation of candidate cities by the IAS in consultation with its international partners. Candidate cities were evaluated by the IAS Governing Council according to three criteria: impact on the epidemic, sufficient infrastructure, and freedom of movement and travel for people living with HIV and AIDS. According to a policy of non-discrimination first adopted by the IAS Governing Council in 1992, the Society will not hold its conferences in countries that restrict short term entry of people living with HIV and AIDS, and/or require prospective HIV-positive visitors to declare their HIV status on visa application forms or other documentation required for entry into the country.
AIDS 2014 Organizers
International AIDS Society (IAS)
Local/Regional Partners from Australia and Asia Pacific - will be appointed in 2012
About the IAS
The International AIDS Society (IAS) is the world's leading independent association of HIV professionals, with over 16,000 members from more than 196 countries working at all levels of the global response to AIDS. Our members include researchers from all disciplines, clinicians, public health and community practitioners on the frontlines of the epidemic, as well as policy and programme planners. The IAS is the custodian of the biennial International AIDS Conference, which will be held in Washington, D.C., in July 2012, and lead organizer of the IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention.
www.iasociety.org | www.aids2012.org
For more information:
Sian Bowen (Geneva, Switzerland)
IAS Senior Manager, Communications
el: +41 22 710 0864
Lindsey Rodger (Geneva, Switzerland)
IAS Communications and Media Officer
Tel: +41 22 710 0822
Reproduced with permission - "International AIDS Society (IAS)"
International AIDS Society (IAS)