New York Times Reporter Analyzes Focus of XVII International AIDS Conference
August 19, 2008
The New York Times' Larry Altman on Tuesday analyzed the focus of the XVII International AIDS Conference, which was held earlier this month in Mexico City. According to Altman, the conference focused on the "longer haul" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the "mood" at the conference was "much more sober" compared with previous meetings. There were no "major breakthroughs" announced, and "cutting-edge research findings were rare," Altman writes. According to the analysis, the great strides in vaccines, microbicides and herpes-suppressive drugs that researchers thought they were on the verge of making at the 2006 XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto have not materialized. Consequently, delegates in Mexico City renewed calls for advocacy and financing to sustain gains already made -- such as promoting antiretroviral therapy in low-income countries, male circumcision and behavior modification.
There also were concerns at the conference regarding access to antiretrovirals and resistance to existing therapies, according to Altman. Delegates also expressed concerns over statements by some critics that HIV/AIDS consumes too great a share of the resources available for fighting other diseases and that efforts focused only on one disease are damaging to primary health care systems in developing countries.
The "shift" seen at this year's AIDS conference was "unmistakable -- from a stronger emphasis on science to more of a convention atmosphere" -- Altman writes. The next conference will be held in Vienna in 2010, and "unexpected developments, good or bad, could well arise," he adds. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has "always come up with new surprises," UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said (Altman, New York Times, 8/19).
Kaisernetwork.org was the official webcaster of the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.