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AIDS 2014 ENDS WITH CALLS FOR UNITING HIV, GLOBAL HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – DAY 6 FRIDAY 25 JULY 2014
AIDS 2014 ENDS WITH CALLS FOR UNITING HIV, GLOBAL HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS
WORLD FIGURES ADDRESS THE CLOSING CEREMONY
Friday July 25, 2014 – AIDS 2014, the 20th International AIDS Conference ended in Melbourne, Australia today with a chorus of international figures calling on governments and organisations to step up the pace in terms of delivering universal access to treatment, care and prevention, not only for HIV but for other health issues as well.
At the event’s closing ceremony this afternoon, the outgoing president of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and Co-Chair of AIDS 2014 Prof. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi once again honoured the delegates who were killed in the MH17 disaster and called on the world to unite to improve global health. “I strongly believe that we must further increase our collaboration with other major international health movements because our objective is to build a better future for all. This is what global health is about. The mobilization against AIDS is also a strong driver to advance other areas such as human rights. There will be no end of AIDS without ensuring respect and dignity of all people, equity in access to health services and social justice.”
The local Co-Chair of the conference, Australia’s Prof. Sharon Lewin, also called for increased support and cooperation. “This week, we have heard of all the great progress but that there is still much work to be done. In order for us to change an epidemic to low level infection, we need an individualised approach to address key hot spots; we need a strong focus on specific geographic areas and key affected populations that continue to experience the highest numbers of infections. We need to recognise that one size will not fit all in our response. Now more than ever we need an increase in funding to do it. Now is not the time to slacken the pace.”
Delivering the keynote address at the closing ceremony, musician and activist Sir Bob Geldof reiterated comments he made at the conference yesterday about increased funding for HIV programs and services. “I am dismayed that you people, after such great scientific and global health success, still have to beg for cash. On this last mile, on this last hurdle, we cannot allow indifference and incapable governance to stop the final victory, which is coming.”
Speaking on behalf of people living with HIV, Australia’s John Manwaring urged people from communities affected by HIV to be fearless advocates. “Every day, those of us living with HIV have to contend with fear, and the irrational, often cruel, reactions it incites. But as I’ve heard people speak over this past week, I have realised an undeniable truth: we are more powerful than we know. When those of us living with HIV come out into the light and share our stories, we dispel the fear, the stigma, and the hate. In their eyes, we are no longer stereotypes and statistics; we are human.”
The incoming IAS president, Chris Beyer, said two of the biggest challenges facing the global HIV response were the lack of access to effective treatments for people for millions around the world, and a new wave of discriminatory laws and policies which are excluding people from treatment and care. “I am the first openly gay person to lead the IAS, and as a man who buried too many friends and lovers before we had effective treatment, let me pledge that inclusion for all who need and want HIV services will be a fundamental focus of my leadership.”
The next International AIDS Conference will take place in Durban in South Africa in 2016. In her address to the closing ceremony, the local Co-Chair of AIDS 2016 Professor Olive Shisana noted that sub-Saharan Africa still shoulders a vastly disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic, with high prevalence and mortality. “The past three decades of HIV/AIDS has taught us that the disease doesn’t discriminate but that people and governments do. A renewed engagement with decision makers across the continent on the issue of human rights will be unavoidable if we are to move towards ending AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and build on the huge gains that we’ve made over the past 15 years. It is my hope that the Durban 2016 International AIDS Conference will drive momentum towards a reinvigoration of the HIV/AIDS response in Africa.”
AIDS 2014 brought together 13,600 delegates from over 200 countries to discuss the global HIV response. Former US President Bill Clinton, Sir Bob Geldof, UNAIDS head Michel Sidibé and other international figures joined delegates from the medical, research, government and advocacy sectors as well as representatives from the communities most affected by HIV and AIDS including men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and people who use drugs.
Handling Assistant Prime Minister RF Onishchenko participants EECAAC
Dear Participants of the Past and Future Eastern Europe and Central Asia HIV/AIDS Conferences!
The region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia shows considerable improvement in its fight against contagious diseases.
This improvement was encouraged by the wholehearted support from the partner countries, donor countries, professional and civil communities, as well as by the strengthening of position of the Russian Federation as a regional donor and growth of responsibility of the region for the program fulfillment.
Definitely, the most important stages in the question of consolidation of the activities in the region are Eastern Europe and Central Asia HIV/AIDS Conferences.
Unfortunately, the region still has to face various threats to public health, such as the growing number of people with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis with extensive drug resistance, and hepatitis. During the 4th Eastern Europe and Central Asia HIV/AIDS Conference that was held in May 12-13 in Moscow, we have defined the problem that will be up-to-date for the region for approximately 10 years - it is the widespread of HIV/AIDS, i.e. the fact it now affects not only the most vulnerable groups, but reaches the whole population.
The above problem forces us to change the paradigm of our fight against HIV/AIDS that used to be centered around the question of how to withhold the epidemic within small groups.
The changes in the paradigm must lead to effective control over the epidemic, improved integration of population in the prevention system, as well as in the systems of treatment and support of people with HIV/AIDS, and the most effective use of available resources.
Pleading for an international dialog and discussion of the HIV/AIDS problem in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, I would like to warn everybody against self-isolation and discussion of the regional aspects of the fight with the epidemic without participation of the region itself. A bright example of such destructive approach that is futureless for the people affected by the epidemic is a special session arranged by Kazachkin M., the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, during 20th International AIDS Conference and devoted to our region. Unfortunately, our region did not participate in the session; moreover, results of the regional conference held in Moscow were not even discussed during the session.
In May 2016, the largest forum on the questions of HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, i.e. Moscow HIV/AIDS Conference, will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
We’ve already began the process of Conference preparation, and quite soon, we will launch a unique platform on the official website of the Conference where anyone who wants to participate in the process or already does it can get actively engaged in a dialogue, help us define and discuss urgent questions, develop the program of the upcoming Conference, and simply network.
I am positive that the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia with its excellent scientific and human resources and one coherent strategy will be able to cope with the task of fighting against contagious and other diseases and will be able to become an example for other countries.
I invite you to take part in our project and get engaged in the process with your heart and mind open to cooperation. Thoughts and ideas of every individual are more than important when it comes to preparation of the Conference and development of our strategy of dealing with the challenges we face today.
Member of RAS
Deputy Chairman of the Governmen
of the Russian Federation
Co-Chairman of the 2016 Conference
on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe
and Central Asia
The Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare expresses its condolences upon the Malaysia Airlines jet Crash
The Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare expresses its deepest condolences in connection with the news that HIV / AIDS researchers and experts were on board the Malaysian jet crashed in Ukraine. A delegation of experts was on their way to Melbourne to attend the 20th International Aids Conference.
We deeply mourn the loss of our colleagues who were actively involved in all four conferences on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia held in Moscow. Our professional community has suffered an irreparable loss.
We sincerely regret the tragedy and send words of comfort to relatives, friends and colleagues of the victims.
Head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare
In 2014 the Federal Service on Customers’ rights protection and human well-being surveillance jointly with UNAIDS will organize the IV Eastern Europe and Central Asia HIV/AIDS Conference, which will take place on May 12-13, 2014, in Moscow.
Conference will bring together participants from Russia, the CIS member states, the SCO and other countries and will continue tradition of the largest regional forum. The purpose of the conference is collaboration and joint activities in such matter as fighting against HIV/AIDS in the region of the EE and CA. The IV Eastern Europe and Central Asia HIV/AIDS Conference will become the venue of very important meeting of politicians, healthcare professionals, scientists, representatives of the international organizations located in the region as well as NGO’s and Civil Society.
Special attention will be given to measures on how to combat HIV/AIDS, implemented at national and regional level, including Eastern Europe and Central Asia, latest achievements of science in the field of the epidemiology and prevention of HIV, development of new treatments and diagnostics.
For activities related to the EECAAC 2014 preparation and conducting of the event, Conference Organizing Committee (COC) is being created now. The first meeting of the COC will take place 17 January, 2014, in Moscow. The committee will include representatives of various ministries and departments of the Russian Federation, representatives of international organizations working in HIV/AIDS field and other infectious diseases.
Key issues on the organization of the upcoming event of high international level will be discussed at the first COC meeting. For more information visit Conference Overview
You can place the EECAAC 2014 banner on your web-site, so that each and every person, who is interested, could timely get information about the Conference:
At the Melbourne HIV/AIDS Conference, Eastern Europe and Central Asia were represented by the local organizations (ECUO, EHRN, ITPCru, EATG, and others) and organizations from different countries.
Last week, the 20th International AIDS Conference took place in Melbourne. Delegates from all over the globe participated in numerous sessions and discussions related to the progress and problems different countries and regions face in their fight against HIV.
We would like to share our conference experience and tell you about the things ITPC managed to accomplish while being at the conference. Since there were a lot of concurrent sessions and we were not able to visit all of them, we would like ask our colleagues who had also visited the conference to write us and share their AIDS-2014 story.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia were represented by several local organizations, including ECUO, EHRN, ITPCru, EATG, and others, as well as by organizations from different countries.
Sergey Golovin from ITPCru took part in the international session named “Access to Hepatitis C Testing and Treatment.” Some other delegates who also participated in the session were Olga Stefanishina (Patients of Ukraine), professor Gregory Dor (a specialist on Hepatitis C from the Kirby Institute, Australia), Isabelle Andrieux-Meyer (Doctors Without Borders), and Ado Augustin from Indonesia. In his presentation, Sergey spoke about the unreasonably high prices for the hepatitis C medications and about the ways in which society can help to lower the prices (activities of ITPCru and other organizations of the Russian Federation were used as an example).
During the special session arranged by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Sergey also presented his report on monitoring of acquisition of ARV medication and supply shortage in the Russian Federation. Other participants of the special session were Lina Mengani (Doctors Without Borders), Esteban Bueronnie (Medicines Patent Pool), and Jorge Saavedra (Head of the international AHF programs). The session was dedicated to the questions of intellectual property and patents. One of the most interesting thoughts of the session was that if there is no drug patent system in the country, it shouldn’t even be created. In his presentation, Sergey pointed out that even if 100% of patients get treatment, at least on paper, the patients society has to do it best all the time to prevent and eliminate arv medication supply shortage.
ITPCru provided technical support in arrangement of the regional session of ECUO on patents and medication access. The session was attended by John Rock (board member of ITPC Global), Othman Mellouk (advocacy coordinator at ITPC-MENA), Tatiana Pinskaya (ECUO), and Tatiana Khan (ITPCru). The session was moderated by Sergey Golovin, and it was marked by an intense debate between the representatives of pharmaceutical industry and panelists. Summary: if it hadn’t been for exorbitant medication prices and strategy of drug registration companies focused on profit only, society would definitely forget about issues with medication access caused by patent problems.
ITPCru also supported a protest action against Gilead and its Sofosbuvir access strategy. Detailed information about the event and a video about it can be found here: http://itpcru.org/news/post_574.html.
We must mention a speech given by Pauline Londeix (Act-UP Paris) right after the protest action. The main idea of Pauline’s speech was that things such as voluntary licensing and multi-level pricing systems don’t help when it comes to treatment access, and that sometimes, they even make things worse. You can find the English version of her speech at http://www.actupbasel.org/actupbasel/?Pauline-Londeix-s-presentation-at
The ITPCru team helped to exhibit four posters (acquisition monitoring; activities of the Patients Control movement and Svecha organization;and a poster about the project on mobilization of women living with HIV). We ask poster authors to share detailed info about their posters, if possible. And we also arranged two special sessions on the treatment access in Global Village.
The Melbourne conference coincided with the report of ITPC Global on integration of updated protocols for reproductive health care in HIV+ people. Russia was among the countries that took part in the research. An interesting fact is that only 164 respondents out of 739 said they were aware new protocols existed. Bottom line: there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to integrate new clinical protocols. The English version of the report is available here: http://www.itpcglobal.org/atomic-documents/11057/20005/WHO%20Report_web.pdf
Once again, we’ll be more than happy if people who have participated in the Melbourne conference share their experience in mailing, if they write us a few words about the sessions they arranged or visited, about the things they have seen, and about the insights they have gained.