News / Asia

International AIDS Conference Sets Big Goals

Delegates observe a minute's silence during the opening session, as a tribute to colleagues killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, July 20, 2014.Delegates observe a minute's silence during the opening session, as a tribute to colleagues killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, July 20, 2014.
x
Delegates observe a minute's silence during the opening session, as a tribute to colleagues killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, July 20, 2014.
Delegates observe a minute's silence during the opening session, as a tribute to colleagues killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, July 20, 2014.
Anita Powell

This year’s global AIDS Conference has ambitious goals, notably to eradicate the dreaded virus by 2030.  But a cloud hung over the proceedings, caused by the death of six researchers and AIDS experts who were among those killed on a Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over volatile eastern Ukraine. 

During the next week, about 12,000 delegates at this massive international event will discuss nearly every facet of the virus that has confounded the world for more than three decades.  They will discuss everything from the hard science behind HIV treatment, to how the virus affects families and societies around the world.

But first they observed a minute of somber silence for the six top researchers and activists who were killed Thursday en route to the conference, when pro-Russian rebels in restive eastern Ukraine allegedly shot down their commercial plane, killing all 298 people aboard.

International AIDS Society president Francoise Barre-Sinoussi expressed grief over the loss of the researchers, which included her predecessor, leading Dutch researcher Dr. Joep Lange.

 “I would love to be telling you that we were opening this conference in happier times.  The extent of the loss of our colleagues and friends is still hard for me to express.  We grieve alongside all of those throughout the world who have lost family and friends in this senseless tragedy,” she said.

But HIV-positive delegates said they would not let the tragedy divert attention from the greater cause.

“I have been living with HIV for five years.  I am HIV-positive because of lack of information,” said Ayu Oktariani, a board member of the Indonesian Positive Woman’s Network.”What happened to me is common throughout our region and the world.  I come from the most populous Muslim country, but our situation is not unique.  I am surrounded by peers from other countries - Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and we all faced the same problem.  Many of us got HIV because we did not have the means to protect ourselves.”

She says she and fellow patients are crucial to the fight against AIDS.

“HIV cannot be solved by science alone.  Because of the stigma of HIV, we need to include people living with HIV in the response,” she said.

Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, also addressed the conference via satellite, and expressed both sadness and anger over the deadly plane crash, which killed 36 Australian citizens and residents.

The head of the U.N. AIDS body, Michel Sidibe, also expressed determination and anger, and some serious goals.

“Today, I am calling for ending AIDS by 2030.  My vision for ending AIDS looks like this: voluntary testing and treatment reaching everyone, everywhere,” he said.  Each person with HIV reaching viral suppression.  No one dies from AIDS, or is born with HIV.  People living with HIV live with dignity, protected by laws, and free to move anywhere in the world.  This vision is not just my own vision.  It is from my friend, and mentor, Joep Lange.  His vision will stay with me until it becomes a reality."

The conference continues through Friday.  

 

 

 

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
July 21, 2014 10:30 AM
Overecome grief and good luck to international global AIDS Conference

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More