Monday, April 22, 2013 – Daily Summary

  • Written by mmontaner
  • April 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm
  • Daily Summary

    Moving Forward

    The 3rd International HIV Treatment as Prevention Workshop opened on Monday with a welcome from British Columbian Minister of Health Margaret MacDiarmid, whose province is hosting the workshop. In her remarks, Minister MacDiarmid touched upon what would be a recurring theme of the opening day: the necessity for researchers and politicians to work together to end HIV/AIDS.

    Pointing to the success of the Treatment as Prevention strategy in British Columbia — the only province in Canada to implement the approach and the only province to demonstrate a consistent decline in new HIV transmissions — Minister MacDiarmid encouraged researchers to take their best evidence to their public officials to make the case for investing in the strategy.

    What will it take to end AIDS?

    This year's workshop began with an opening roundtable that gathered high-level delegates from across the globe: Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, St. Kitts and Nevis; Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS; Ambassador Eric Goosby, PEPFAR; Dr. Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, Vice President Emeritus; Catherine Hara, Minister of Health, Malawi; Dr. Maximo Andres Diosque, Vice Minister of Health, Argentina; Dr. Win Myint, Deputy Minister of Health, Myanmar; Marvelous Muchenje, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands; and Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Moderated by London Financial Times journalist Andrew Jack, the roundtable focused on What will it take to end AIDS?

    Mr. Sidibé presented the case for increasing access around the world to the best possible HIV care. He characterized the debate as a human rights issue, arguing Treatment as Prevention can aid in stability and progress for poorer nations. “It is an issue of science, economics, and morality,” he said.

    Ambassador Goosby presented AIDS-free generation: A target in sight. He provided evidence demonstrating global success moving from pilot responses to scaled responses, arguing the science now available with HIV treatment and prevention has the capability to quickly move to scale with high impact interventions. Ambassador Goosby argued an AIDS-free generation is in sight if the political will is there to share the responsibility. “The global responsibility is in front of us,” he said.

    Prime Minister Douglas spoke to the need to provide access to HIV treatment to everyone. “Using Treatment as Prevention in combination with other interventions, the Caribbean countries can end AIDS and HIV,” he said.

    Global solidarity and AIDS

    Stephen Lewis, Co-Director of AIDS Free World, moderated the evening session, entitled Global solidarity and AIDS. Mr. Lewis was joined by David Wilson of the World Bank, Ade Fakoya of The Global Fund, Elly Katabira of Uganda’s Makerere University, and Moupali Das of the University of California–San Francisco.

    As he introduced the panel, Mr. Lewis called for earlier implementation of evidence-based health policies. In speaking of global solidarity, Mr. Wilson characterized the fight against HIV as one that will define us all. Mr. Fakoya explained that in order to get to the end of AIDS, more strategic investment, particularly in Africa, is needed. Dr. Katabira stated global solidarity means more than money, it means caring for our poor. Dr. Das defined effective solidarity as existing among public health, community organizations, and policy makers.

    Mr. Lewis described the consensus in the audience. “There is a moral imperative in this room and it is called Treatment as Prevention.”

    What’s ahead

    Day Two of the Treatment as Prevention Workshop will begin with presentations from representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida (ANRS).

    The second session will look at strategies for enhancing the implementation of Treatment as Prevention. The third session will feature updates from key studies being conducted around the world. The HIV Cascade of Care is the focus of the fourth session. Day Two closes with the first abstract-driven session of the workshop.

    For further details on session times and presenters, please click here.