This year’s biennial event marks the conference’s return to the United States after a 22 year absence on the heels of President Barack Obama’s October 2009 announcement that the United States would end entry restrictions on people living with HIV. The conference was last held in the U.S. in 1990 in San Francisco.
The event is touted as the world’s largest meeting on AIDS, where leading scientists, community leaders, and policy makers report on the latest AIDS research and help to identify next steps in the global response to AIDS. The conference will also highlight recent developments in treatment and prevention.
“In the last few years various trials, including HPTN 052, TDF2, Partners PrEP, and iPrEx have demonstrated with solid evidence the efficacy of treatment as prevention, while other studies are currently investigating the possibility of a cure for HIV,” Elly Katabira, International Chair of AIDS 2012 noted in a recent statement. “Thanks to these scientific advances, for the first time we have a real opportunity to put a major dent on the epidemic.”
The conference will also address the state of the epidemic in the United States, with particular focus on the host city. An estimated 3 percent of Washingtonians are living with HIV, eclipsing the national estimate of 0.35 percent.
Bill Clinton, philanthropist Bill Gates, and humanitarian Sir Elton John will be among the speakers who will address the conference. John is slated to deliver the keynote address on July 23, with Clinton speaking at the closing session on July 27.
The theme for the conference is Turning the Tide Together, which was selected to emphasize the need for a global and decisive commitment to change the course of the epidemic during a time that science is presenting promising results in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention.
“AIDS 2012 represents a unique occasion to mobilize policy makers, governments, NGOs, scientists, people living with HIV and civil society to join forces,” said AIDS 2012 US Co-Chair Dr. Diane Havlir in a news release. “Even though we are currently going through a global turbulent economic climate, we cannot miss this historic moment, and it is vital to continue to attract funding and promote programmes based on effectiveness and efficiency in order to optimize the use of resources.”
The event is being organized by the Geneva-based International AIDS Society, which serves as the world’s leading independent association of HIV professionals. Local sponsors include the District of Columbia Department of Health, the Black AIDS Institute, and the U.S. Positive Women’s Network.
XIX International AIDS Conference
July 22-27 • Washington, D.C.