The conference on AIDS, which is held every two years in various cities around the world, is being held in Toronto this year from the 13-18 of August.
The conference, 'AIDS 2006', which is the largest of its kind in the world, will feature 20,000 participants from across 120 countries. This conference, whose theme this year is 'Time to Deliver', besides being a forum for the world's top medical authorities and AIDS experts, will also feature its own eminent personalities, like Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland), Bill Clinton, Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Bill and Melinda Gates and actor Richard Gere.
It was reported that AIDS 2006 would highlight the latest trends in clinical research, epidemiology, and the development in the social sciences and the political climate around the world. It was explained that some of the top topics that would be given priority would include new data on the origins of HIV-1, as to how certain populations tend to avoid infection despite exposure to HIV, the relationship between a single dose of neviparine and the response of pregnant women to antiviral treatment, on the people's immune systems and resistance to anti-virals, about the relationship between tuberculosis and HIV, and results from 'SMART', which is a structured treatment interruption trial.
It was reported that the rights of women and girls, poverty, and sexual and reproductive health rights would be the agenda of the other set of priorities, as well as the findings of various ways to reach and treat sex workers, men who have sex with men, drug users and indigenous populations. It is expected that thousands of scientists from around the world would be presenting some 4,500 pieces of research and there is an as-yet-unknown number of late-breaking papers that could probably include everything from the latest efforts in producing an effective vaccine to the results of the clinical trials of microbicide gels (for use by women to prevent HIV transmission during sex) to the emerging drug-resistance to first-line anti-retroviral drugs that are keeping millions of people infected with HIV alive.
It was reported that the conference would try and find ways to guarantee universal approach to treatment and evidence-based strategies for HIV prevention. It was mentioned that the efforts of Bill and Melinda Gates will make people in the U.S. and world wide proud as they support a direct fact-based involvement and their granting of funds from the Gates Foundation, instead off just talk with the pretence of making it a national policy.
Stating that, "This is one of the conferences that is to be all things to all people," Dr. Mark Wainberg, director of McGill University's AIDS Center in Montreal and co-host of the conference, said, " "You have activists, you have community people, you have scientists, physicians, researchers looking for vaccines and other very basic efforts designed at trying to stem the HIV epidemic. I'd say that we're all united in that we want to put an end to AIDS."
Wainberg and Helene Gayle the International AIDS Society president of Atlanta and the co-chair of the conference, explained that the conference's title says it all, Gayle said, "The theme of AIDS 2006 'Time to Deliver' demands accountability of all of us." They explained that the commitments that have been made in all constituencies to prevent HIV infection and its spread throughout the world, for the treatment of those living with HIV, to help lessen the damage done to society by the epidemic and to realize the promise of new technologies that will one day end the epidemic would require a combined effort that was probably unheard of in history. They concluded saying, "AIDS 2006 in Toronto is a landmark opportunity to work together to review our progress and renew our energies to make it happen."