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Sen. Coburn Asks for Money From AIDS Conference to Be Used on Treatment, Research; IAS Responds on Importance of Conference

February 26, 2010

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has sent a letter to the conveners of the upcoming International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) in Vienna, Austria, asking them to cancel it and "use money for travel and meetings on treatment and research instead," the Washington Times reports. "While I recognize the International AIDS Conference can provide a unique forum for networking, reviewing scientific developments and sharing information for many stakeholders, modern technology allows us to accomplish these goals for relatively little cost," Coburn wrote in the Feb. 19 letter to the International AIDS Society (IAS), which convenes the conference. IAS President Julio Montaner responded to the letter: "My colleagues and I firmly believe that it would be foolhardy in the midst of such significant investments to not take the opportunity every two years to assess progress to date, generate new ideas and strategies and chart a collective course forward." According to the Washington Times, while Montaner noted "more information is being shared electronically, he also pointed to benefits from previous conferences of the 'in-person exchange of information, ideas and energy'" (McElhatton, 2/25).

The Kaiser Family Foundation will serve as the official webcaster of the AIDS 2010 conference.

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