Aids Conference To Emphasize Need For Quality Hiv Programmes
Written by ASNA News
17 June 2009
In the face of an ongoing global economic recession that threatens to undermine recent progress, organizers of the 5 th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2009) has vowed to continue pushing for evidence-based approaches to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, while emphasizing the continued need to strategically invest in HIV research, including operations research, to guide implementation of programmes. IAS 2009 will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 19 to 22 July 2009.
"The need for evidence-based interventions has never been more important," said International AIDS Society (IAS) President and IAS 2009 Conference Chair Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver .
"Good science must inform good policy and programming to ensure the best outcomes for individuals and communities," added Dr. Montaner. "Science has given us the ability to save lives; now is not the time to be short-sighted."
The IAS 2009 host country, South Africa, bears the largest burden of the AIDS pandemic of any country in the world, with an estimated 5.7 million people living with HIV in 2007.
The decision to hold IAS 2009 in southern Africa reflects organizers' desire to refocus the attention of the international scientific community on the continued challenges facing a region that is battling a generalized epidemic, and to highlight the latest efforts to fight it.
"IAS 2009 is taking place during an important period of change in South Africa and will be the first international AIDS meeting held here since the new government was installed," said Conference Co-Chair Prof. Hoosen Coovadia, Chairman of Dira Sengwe and Scientific Director of the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban . "This is an ideal opportunity to move both the national and global responses forward, based on sound science."
Among key note speakers include 2008 Nobel Laureate and IAS Governing Council member Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi. Prof. Barré-Sinoussi who will discuss one of the most exciting, yet challenging frontiers in HIV science: the need to better understand latent viral reservoirs and the related goal of eventually eradicating HIV from the human body.
AIDS Free World Co-Director Stephen Lewis will deliver the second keynote address entitled, "Scientists as Activists". Delegates also will hear welcoming remarks by the conference Co-Chairs, a representative of the South African government, and by community leaders Zackie Achmat and Vuyiseka Dubula of South Africa 's Treatment Action Campaign.
The majority of conference sessions will be based on peer-reviewed scientific abstracts prepared by researchers and implementers from across the globe. Over 2,300 original abstracts were submitted to IAS 2009, with almost 1,000 selected for presentation at the conference or inclusion on the abstract CD-ROM.While continuing its strong emphasis on basic, clinical and biomedical prevention sciences, IAS 2009 will feature a new programme track focusing on operations research.
The new track is intended to further emphasize the defining characteristic of the IAS conference: how to quickly translate scientific discoveries into practical interventions that respond to current challenges in HIV prevention, treatment and care, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. In addition to abstract-driven sessions, the conference will feature a variety of symposia and bridging sessions.
IAS 2009 is an opportunity to further explore the current debate over the impact of HIV-specific funding on broader efforts to strengthen health systems in low- and moderate-income countries