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Bangkok AIDS Conference May Be Largest Ever, July 11 to 16

June 12, 2004

The XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand from July 11-16, 2004, is expecting 15,000 delegates from 160 countries. It will probably be the largest AIDS conference ever, and is the first meeting of its kind in Southeast Asia. The theme this year is "Access for All" -- in science, prevention, treatment, and resources.

Anyone can receive free daily email updates during the conference from the well-regarded Kaiser Family Foundation; to sign up, visit www.kff.org/AIDS2004/. Other daily updates will be available, as well as many later reports online, in print, and in community meetings. It is still possible to make arrangements to go (round trip air fare from New York started at under $1300 as of June 9, and under $1200 from Los Angeles; the best hotel rates are available online, the conference registration is expensive, and 40 countries are exempt from Thai visa requirements but everyone else needs a visa).

Unfortunately the Bush Administration cut the number of U.S. scientists who can attend, announcing in March that the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be allowed to send only 20 scientists each -- compared to 236 U.S. government scientists sent to the last international conference two years ago in Barcelona, Spain. The U.S. reduced its funding for the conference from $3.6 million to less than half a million. Many programs at Bangkok had to be reorganized or cancelled, as the scientists will not be there to present their information. These cuts reflect right-wing attacks; in May 2004, five Republicans in Congress complained that the 2002 Barcelona meeting had 777 presentations that mentioned condoms, "compared to 16 for 'faithfulness' or 'fidelity' and 74 for 'abstinence.'" (For more information see "This Nasty Game Is Scored in Lives" by health writer Laurie Garrett, Los Angeles Times, May 30, 2004.)

The official Web site for the XV International AIDS Conference is www.aids2004.org.


ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2004 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.


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