AIDS 2010 in Context
AIDS 2010 is taking place at an important juncture in the response to HIV and AIDS. Over the past 15 years, scientific advances have given us the tools to effectively prevent and treat HIV in even the most resource constrained settings. Beginning with a call to action at the XIII International Conference in Durban, South Africa in 2000, and reinforced by advocacy in support of universal access over the past seven years, there has been tremendous progress in scaling up HIV treatment, and to a lesser extent HIV prevention, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. These investments have shown positive results, with fewer new infections and AIDS-related deaths reported in 2007, compared with 2003. Yet, with the goal of universal access by 2010 looming on the immediate horizon, and the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals following just five years later, there is a need for urgency and accountability and no room for complacency.
Despite growing momentum over the past few years, significant challenges remain. It is now absolutely clear that stigma, discrimination and rights violations -- whether focused directly on people with HIV or on particular groups, such as women and girls, men who have sex with men, people who use drugs or trade/sell sex or young people -– as well as punitive or misguided policies towards key populations most affected by HIV, are major obstacles to an effective response to HIV.
AIDS 2010 will underscore that the protection of human rights is a fundamental prerequisite to an effective response to HIV. Equally clear to many, though not all, is the important contributions the scale up of HIV programmes has made to broader health and development goals. AIDS 2010 will highlight the many opportunities for synergy and for powerful alliances between these sometimes disparate movements.
AIDS 2010 will also provide a multidisciplinary forum for networking and the sharing of information related to new research and evidence-based programmes and policies. It is a chance for the many stakeholders involved in HIV to take stock of where the epidemic is, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward. In particular, AIDS 2010 will facilitate stronger linkages between science and community and will explore in greater depth the important overlap and interaction between and the three programme areas: Science, Community and Leadership and Accountability.
The conference’s host city of Vienna, Austria offers a unique bridge to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a region with one of the fastest growing epidemics in the world that is fueled primarily by injection drug use, as well as the inadequate response to and hyper criminalization of injecting drug use. An important focus of the conference will therefore be a discussion of how evidence-based policies and programmes for people who inject drugs, including harm reduction strategies, can be expanded, and the influence of global drug policy on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people who use drugs. The current state of the epidemic in other regions – in particular southern Africa, which remains the most heavily affected region of the world and where the majority of infections occur in women and girls – will also be explored in detail.
Conference Goal and Objectives
AIDS 2010 will have a positive impact on the HIV/AIDS response globally, and in Austria and the neighbouring region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in particular, with the following objectives:
- To increase the capacity of delegates to introduce, implement, and advocate for effective, evidence-based HIV/AIDS interventions in their communities, countries and regions.
- To influence leaders, including key policy makers and donors, to increase their commitment to gender sensitive, evidence- and human-rights based HIV/AIDS interventions, including harm reduction strategies for people who inject drugs.
- To serve as an accountability and feedback mechanism for those engaged at various levels of the response to HIV/AIDS, including policy makers and other leaders.
- To increase public awareness of the continued impact of HIV/AIDS and the need for responses to the epidemic through the media and other means.
- To increase understanding of the connection between human rights and an effective response to HIV/AIDS.
- To increase understanding of the synergistic relationship between the scale up of the HIV/AIDS response and other global health, human rights and development priorities among key stakeholders involved in these distinct fields.
- To provide opportunities for multi-stakeholder dialogue to develop creative solutions to unresolved challenges in research and implementation of HIV policies and programmes.
- Be inclusive of people living with HIV, and other key affected populations.
- Be transparent in the way that the conference is planned and implemented.
- Engage key stakeholders throughout the world in the development of and participation in the conference programme, especially those most engaged in the AIDS response, individuals and organizations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and key affected populations, including women and girls, men who have sex with men, sex workers, young people and people who inject drugs.
- Ensure gender equality in representation at all levels of the planning and in the implementation of the conference.