More than 6,000 international experts are gathering in Vancouver nearly 35 years after HIV-AIDS first emerged on the world stage to chart a path to eliminate the global pandemic by 2030.
The 8th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention will bring together researchers, clinicians, community leaders and public health experts from around the world. It's the second time that Vancouver has hosted an IAS meeting in the last 20 years.
"This conference really is a focal point for the exchange of scientific information regarding HIV and AIDS," said Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS, which is co-hosting the meeting.
The scientific gathering comes at a critical point in global efforts to control the pandemic, which has devastated populations in several developing nations, particularly in Africa, said Montaner.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that the goal of having 15 million HIV-positive people on antiretroviral therapy by the end of 2015 the so-called 15 by 15 strategy had been achieved nine months early.
New HIV infections have fallen by 35% and AIDS-related deaths by 41% since the goal was set in 2000, primarily because of antiretroviral drugs, which suppress the ability of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to replicate and infect cells. The triple-drug cocktail stops the infection from progressing to AIDS