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Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol cover the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012)
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19th IAS World AIDS Conference, 22-25 July 2012, Washington

July/August 2012

Over the last decade, the International AIDS Society (IAS) World AIDS Conference has increasingly focused on social rather than scientific aspects of HIV and this trend continued this year. About 85% of over 3000 studies and presentations were on human rights, funding, access, policy, prevention, access to care and issues of stigma. The majority of clinical studies were posters (a summary presented on a 2 x 1 metre display) and this year, only 25 posters each day focused on early or basic science (Track A) and less than 75 on clinical studies (Track B). From over 80 hours of podcasts only five sessions were focused on treatment.

So although the important clinical studies are reported below, the web casts on the social, political and human rights aspects provide the context for the main meeting. The panelists and speakers in many of these sessions sometimes provide more insight into some settings than a test tube or statistical calculation.

More than 20,000 delegates attend, but within a few hours of the closing sessions the halls empty and the venue prepares for computer games (where IAS stands for Increased Attack Speed), or life empowerment, booked for the following week. And it becomes easier to distill the point of the activity and expense.

With this more than other medical conferences, certain issues usually come to represent the meeting rather than headline results based on new scientific advances. Remembering the impossibly slow progress of the "3×5″ campaign (3 million people on treatment by 2005), this conference, with its shift to focus on treatment access has sailed past this once-daunting goal.

So this year the conference marked the time when more than eight million people in low and middle-income countries are able to access and remain on treatment. And although the media focus was "Turning the Tide Together," achieving 8 million people on treatment is probably a more tangible focus.

Programme strengths this year included:

  • A platform for speeches
    On policy and access, and for HIV positive people and activists leading many of the community responses to give their diverse perspectives on a world stage.
  • Asserting the focus on a cure
    Many sessions included early research connected to a cure, including a pre-meeting workshop.
  • Clinical data
    Highlights included new drugs for HIV and TB, children's health and other studies.
  • HIV prevention
    With an emphasis this year focusing on policy and implementation rather than new clinical data. This especially focused on Treatment as Prevention (TasP), PrEP, circumcision, needle-exchange, and infant and maternal access to treatment.
  • HIV and long-term health
    The increasing focus on inflammation as a concern, overlapping with ageing and use of earlier treatment.
  • To launch publications and reports
    Many publications contain more detail and planning that could fit into a single symposium or poster, and most are available free online.
  • Other community events
    The conference incuded a "Global Village" for many community events. This year, more than 50,000 quilts hung in the conference halls and laid out along part of the National Mall Park near the Washington Memorial and 50 other locations in Washington.

Reports in this issue of HTB include:

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.

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This article was provided by HIV i-Base. It is a part of the publication HIV Treatment Bulletin. Visit HIV i-Base's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
See Also
AIDS 2012 Research & Clinical Coverage

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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.