News / Health

AIDS Conference Wraps Up with Focus on Research, Progress

International AIDS Conference: Heavy Research, Heady Partiesi
X
July 25, 2014 9:40 AM
In 20 years, the International AIDS Conference has ballooned from a gathering of some 2,000 scientists at the inaugural 1985 meeting in Atlanta, to this year’s multi-disciplinary gathering of 12,000 scientists, activists, and people living with the virus. The 2014 conference in Melbourne, Australia covered a seemingly endless array of topics, from hard science to social issues. VOA’s Anita Powell was there and tried to take it all in.
Anita Powell

In 20 years, the International AIDS Conference has ballooned from a gathering of some 2,000 scientists at the inaugural 1985 meeting in Atlanta, to this year’s multi-disciplinary gathering of 12,000 scientists, activists and people living with the virus. The latest conference in Melbourne, Australia covered a seemingly endless array of topics, from the hard science to social issues.

At the 2014 AIDS conference, condoms are as common as toothbrushes, sex and safety are brought up in the same breath, and AIDS is no longer a death sentence, but a plausible theme for a dance party.

But this conference was not all about glitz and glam.

Improved testing, treatment

At this year’s event in Melbourne, scientists and researchers also hit hard against the disease with powerful research.

Medical advances include improvements in testing and treatment -- and, this year, a pill that may help prevent HIV transmission.

Dr. James Rooney of Gilead Sciences explains how a prevention protocol, called “PrEP,” works.

“So PrEP is actually a new strategy for preventing HIV infection," he said. "It’s a strategy that uses HIV drugs that are oftentimes used for treatment, but in this case, the drugs are actually given to individuals who are at high risk for becoming infected.”

But the event was not without its own tragedy.

Just days before the conference began, six top figures in the fight against AIDS were killed when their plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine. The tragedy prompted outpourings of grief, which began with a minute of silence, led by International AIDS Society President Francoise Barre-Sinoussi.

“I would love to be telling you that we were opening this conference in happier times," she said. "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."

Celebrating progress

The week-long event also brought in some big names.

“We are here on the 20th anniversary of the conference to celebrate so much of the progress that has been made because the world made the right decision to fight AIDS and now, to create a generation free of it. We dare not walk away. And all of us should lead the way,” former U.S. president Bill Clinton said.

In a way, this tragic epidemic, which has killed an estimated 39 million people since the early 1980s, has blown open previously taboo subjects. AIDS has forced the world to talk about long-simmering issues like sex, gender issues, inequality, violence and education.

It’s a huge price to pay, but one that AIDS activists say has paved the path for a more understanding and a more interesting and colorful world.

You May Like

Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison More

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

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