News / Africa

    AIDS 2012: Preparations Underway for US to Host Conference

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Joe DeCapua

    In July 2012, the world’s largest AIDS conference comes to Washington, D.C.  It’s the first time the gathering will be held in the United States since 1990 and preparations are already underway.

    Despite the massive U.S. financial, medical and scientific contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS, a major issue blocked the conference from being held here.  That was a law that prohibited HIV infected people from traveling to the United States. In was passed in 1987 in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Efforts to lift the ban began during President George W. Bush’s second administration.  It was finally repealed in January 2010 under President Obama.

    To International AIDS Society President and conference co-chair – Dr. Elly Katabira – that’s very good news.

    “So now we’re in business,” he says.

    Similar to D.C.

    Katabira has visited Washington, D.C. to meet with city officials about the 19th International AIDS Conference, also known as AIDS 2012.

    AIDS 2012: Preparations Underway for US to Host Conference
    AIDS 2012: Preparations Underway for US to Host Conference

    “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.  So, coming here would give us an opportunity, and also Washington, D.C., an opportunity, to share the experiences, learn from each other, mistakes and so on,” he says.

    A prominent Washington HIV treatment and care facility – the Whitman-Walker Clinic – says 3 percent of the city’s adult population is confirmed to have HIV.  Another 3 to 5 percent are believed to be HIV positive, but have not been diagnosed.  Most of the new infections are among African-Americans and gay men.

    The theme of AIDS 2012 is yet to be determined.

    “We haven’t yet worked on the theme.  Normally, the theme comes close to the time of the conference.  The reason is that the conference now has one and a half years to go.  If you have a theme now, things may change over time.  And the theme, once you’ve decided, you can’t change it.  It becomes irrelevant,” he says, adding, “So, we’ll start discussing the theme somewhere in the middle of this year.  And towards the end of this year, then we will have a theme for the conference.”

    Budget cuts

    Katabira visited Washington at a time when the House of Representatives has proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

    He urges Congress to reject those cuts, especially since the conference is being held in the nation’s capital.

    “If they would listen to me, my pledge would be, please, don’t do any more cuts.  In anything, put up more money.  The reason is, we appreciate the economic front, because we don’t want to be on the negative side alone.  We definitely appreciate the reason behind the cuts.  But then also we need to appreciate that the epidemic itself is still burning.  And any further cuts are likely to make the escalation of the epidemic worse,” he says.

    He says he fears if the U.S. cuts AIDS funding, other nations will follow suit.

    “The rest of the world has stood on the benefits of the U.S. government and the people of the U.S.  Once they hear that even the U.S. is cutting down they may think it is relevant for them also either to stay [keep] the status quo or to cut the funding,” he says.

    Each International AIDS Society president puts his or her mark on the conference, a personal goal, if you will.  Dr. Katabira is no different.

    “Mine,” he says, “is leadership and accountability.  Much as I appreciate the support from all the G8 [nations], including the U.S. and other public/private stakeholders, I want to emphasize that with…the possibility of funding likely to be reduced, ourselves, the recipients, the beneficiaries of this support, need to be more focused in actually maximizing whatever we get from this country.  Use the amount of money as effectively and efficiently [as possible], so we can reach much more people than we are doing today with the current funding.”

    The 19th International AIDS Conference will be held from July 22nd through the 27th, 2012.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.