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Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol cover the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012)
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AIDS 2012 Update: What to Expect at the Conference

July 16, 2012

Co-chair Dr. Diane Havlir (right) explains the highlights of the conference with Joseph Elias, Global Village Coordinator.

Co-chair Dr. Diane Havlir (right) explains the highlights of the conference with Joseph Elias, Global Village Coordinator.

Next week officially begins International AIDS Conference here in the District. More than 25,000 delegates and 2,000 media personnel will be on deck to witness this historic event. This year's conference marks the return of the IAC to the United States in more than two decades. The theme of the conference is "Turning the Tide Together" and is supposed to signify the strength that can be found in unity. Last week, at a press conference in the Barbara Jordan Center in the Kaiser Family Foundation building in Northwest, conference co-chair Dr. Diane Havlir and Joseph Elias, Global Village Coordinator, explained the highlights of the conference.

The conference will have five basic headers:

  1. Making the prevention revolution real. In other words the beginning of the end. There have been some tremendous breakthroughs in the areas of science over the past three years, which could be a sign that the end is near. Pre Exposure Prevention (PrEP), treatment as prevention, microbicides, and adult male circumcision have all been shown to be very effective forms of treatment. The conference will go into more details about how these advances are signs of significant progress.
  2. Turning the tide for key populations. One of the benefits of having the conference here in the US is the chance to focus on how the epidemic affects people on the home front. Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), sex workers, heterosexual females, and Intravenous Drug Users (IDU) have unique needs and efforts to attack the virus in these populations will require tailor-made strategies. The conference will have workshops and plenaries to talk about those strategies.
  3. Expanding testing and treatment. This conference will offer more insight on how key issues such as expanding testing and treatment, universal access, and getting more people on anti-retroviral meds will be done. How much will this cost? Research, innovations and treatments are costly and finding ways to fund them can be a struggle.
  4. Turning the tide on Tuberculosis. Having HIV can wreak havoc on the human immune system. This can make a person more vulnerable to diseases such as tuberculosis. There are new drugs and new technologies to help medical professionals detect TB and offer treatment.
  5. The cure. Timothy Brown (the patient who has been cured of AIDS) had a significantly aggressive but not so practical treatment. Is there a cure on the horizon for the rest of the population? Scientific research says that there is hope in sight. We will see when the scientific presentations are made. Mr. Brown will also be in attendance.

There will also be the biggest Global Village in the history of the conference open all day every day. The Global Village is free and open to the public. Joseph Elias highlighted that there will be sessions, presentations, workshops, and performances to attend. The plenaries will be televised and no other activities will be happening during those times. There will also be networking zones, theater and film, and an entire youth pavilion available for showcasing talent.

The most important thing to remember (from this Examiner's point of view) is that this conference is in our backyard. It's a chance for the US to showcase the strides that we have been making to fight this disease (opinions vary on how far we've come). It's a human rights victory as the travel ban for persons with HIV was lifted in 2009. We also get the chance to spotlight the epidemic in D.C., which is rare on a global level. It's our chance to make some noise and make a mark on this epidemic like never before. Are you in?

Check back here this week for more information about the conference and the events taking place around the city in support of it.

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This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
AIDS 2012 Pre-Conference News & Information

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Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.