The Obama Administration's January 2010 repeal of a 1987 law prohibiting people with HIV from entering the country has given the green light for the preeminent global AIDS conference to return to the United States for the first time since 1990.
The 19th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) will convene in Washington, July 22-27, 2012. With its 3 percent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, the nation's capital has the highest rate of any U.S. city. This irony is not lost on International AIDS Society President and AIDS 2012 Conference Co-chair Dr. Elly Katabira.
"The epidemic in the U.S. and in particular Washington, D.C., is not very different from other highly affected countries in the sub-Saharan region and other regions of the world," said Katabira. "So, coming here would give us an opportunity ... to share the experiences, learn from each other, mistakes and so on."
The U.S. House has proposed cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a move that Katabira inveighed against.
"The rest of the world has stood on the benefits of the U.S. government and the people of the U.S.," commented Katabira. "Once they hear that even the U.S. is cutting down they may think it is relevant for them also either to [keep] the status quo or to cut the funding."
Katabira's personal goal for AIDS 2012 is heightened leadership and accountability, using whatever resources it receives "as effectively and efficiently [as possible], so we can reach much more people than we are doing today with the current funding." To ensure its relevance in 2012, the conference theme will not be selected until late this year, he said.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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