By Jennifer Gatsi, Co-founder and director of the Namibian Women’s Health Network
With the passing of HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAC) on May 18th we have witnessed growing hope that we are on the brink of a breakthrough in discovering an HIV vaccine. Mary Marovich, Director of NIH’s Division of AIDS Vaccine Research Program stated “The future is bright...we’re closer than ever”. At AIDS 2012, even failures in research were dubbed as successfully leading to new avenues of research. Early vaccine research attempted to teach the immune system to produce antibodies that would block entrance of HIV into human cells. This failed in clinical trials when antibodies worked against lab-cultured HIV but not wild strains of the virus. Emerging research shifts efforts towards “broadly neutralizing antibodies” to HIV. About 20% of HIV-infected individuals produce these antibodies at too slow a rate. Current vaccine research aims to expedite the process, allowing the body to produce antibodies in a timely manner for effectiveness against HIV. More...
By Ishdeep Kohli, International HIV/AIDS Alliance
People who inject drugs remain one of the highest-risk groups for contracting HIV, but infringements of their human rights around the world threatens to derail progress on ending AIDS.
Globally, around 16 million people inject drugs (WHO) and 3 million of them are living with HIV – and it is critical that their needs are represented at the 20th International AIDS Conference .
Asia Pacific is the second region in the world most affected by HIV and now home to an estimated 4.9 million people living with HIV (UNAIDS). The majority of infections have occurred through sharing injecting equipment and unprotected sex. More...
By Anna Laura Ross, PhD, HIV Cure Strategy and Science Manager, International AIDS Society
Excitement is growing as the 2014 edition of the Towards an HIV cure symposium is now just around the corner.
The symposium, the key annual event of the IAS Towards an HIV cure initiative, will take place on 19-20 July 2014 at Victoria University City Flinders Campus, just a short walk across the Yarra river from the main Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre where the AIDS 2014 conference will be held. The symposium will bring together over 250 delegates including basic scientists, clinical researchers, community representatives, funding agencies and journalists. More...
By Peter King, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Chief Executive
With not long to go until the International AIDS Conference at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), the city is preparing to welcome visitors from around the world, including celebrities and politicians Sir Bob Geldof and President Bill Clinton, and organisations and businesses are ‘painting the town red’, but how does the host venue prepare to host more than 12,000 participants for the largest health and development conference in Australia?
It’s the first time in 10 years since the International AIDS conference will be held in the Asia-Pacific and we’re incredibly excited to host AIDS 2014 at MCEC. It feels like a long time coming, especially as the event was won back in 2011. But it is certainly creeping up on us now with only 3 days to go now. MCEC were the only venue in Australia capable of hosting AIDS 2014 due to our size and infrastructure, which is a real coup for us. Our team is gearing up for the event to take over our entire venue – all 66,333 square metres of it!
To give you some background, MCEC supported Melbourne Convention Bureau with the bidding process back in 1997. It really was a ‘Team Melbourne’ effort to win this conference, along with the significant role our internationally-renowned More...
By Busisiwe Ndlovu, Oxfam Australia
In the impoverished town of Bela Bela, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, the HIV epidemic arrived, bringing death, despair, fear and shame into the community. What was extraordinary in this community was the spirit and courage that pulled those affected together to create the Bela Bela HIV/AIDS Prevention Group (HAPG) and gave them the tools to combat the epidemic.
Once the original members of the HAPG support group understood their illness and what they could do to prevent it from worsening, they realised not only that they still had a life to lead, but that they also had the power to make a real contribution to others.
Naturally their health improved, with the help of antiretroviral drugs and information sessions teaching them what to do, and what not to do, to live long healthy lives. But it was what came next that for many made the biggest difference to their experience of those lives. More...
By: Mark Viso, President and CEO, Pact and Rhonda Zygocki, Executive Vice President, Policy and Planning, Chevron Corporation
Unoma, a 26-year-old farm worker in Bayelsa state, Nigeria, recently had her third child. Her previous two children were born without prenatal care and her last was delivered in unsafe conditions with the help of other farmworkers like herself – a common occurrence for many women across sub-Saharan Africa. Her experience with this third child, however, was different. For the first time, thanks to a partnership between Chevron and the international NGO Pact, Unoma knew she could and should be tested for HIV/AIDS, and, if necessary, how to prevent transmission of the disease to her child. With the support of health workers in her community who were part of the Chevron-Pact program, Unoma visited a primary health clinic and learned that she and her youngest child were HIV-free. More...
By Edwina Wright, Monash University
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
The field of HIV treatment and prevention has been freshly energised by the findings from several recent clinical trials.
Maintaining the momentum of scientific discoveries and breakthroughs is critical to preventing further HIV infections, improving care for the 35 million people living with HIV and because other critical global health priorities compete for funding in our fiscally-constrained world.
While many breakthroughs in HIV research have happened over the past couple of years, I'm going to explore five of the most significant of these in recent times. More...
By Emily Shaw, Research Promotion Intern, International AIDS Society
At the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), the IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Award – Special HIV Cure Prize was awarded to Nitasha Kumar for the abstract entitled, “Myeloid dendritic cells and HIV latency in resting T cells.” This project investigated the interactions between dendritic cells and resting CD4+ T-cells as they relate to the establishment and maintenance of HIV latency, and the results have implicated that myeloid dendritic cells play a key role in HIV latency in resting memory CD4+ T-cells. The US$2,000 prize is jointly funded by the IAS and the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS) to support young researchers who demonstrate innovation, originality, rationale and quality in the field of cure-related HIV research.
In preparation for the upcoming AIDS 2014 conference this summer in Melbourne, Australia, the IAS has gotten back in touch with Ms. Kumar to hear her thoughts on the impact the prize has had on her life and work over the past two years. More...
By Karen Bolinger, Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention Bureau
It is hard to believe that after more than two years of intensive planning and preparation, Melbourne will be the host city for AIDS 2014 in just a few weeks’ time.
As the Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), the organisation responsible for leading the successful bid to host AIDS 2014 in Melbourne, I am extremely proud of how the city and the state has come together to support this prestigious conference to ensure delegates, speakers and other attendees are not only welcomed to the city, but truly experience it.
So, how did Melbourne come to be the host city for AIDS 2014? More...
By Diana G. Mendoza, AIDS 2014 Media Scholarship Recipient - First published on verafiles.org
DOLZURA. Esther. Kathy. Sarah Jane. The country’s first reported case of AIDS in 1984 was an unidentified male, but by this list of names alone, it was the females who gave a public face to HIV and AIDS in the Philippines.
The first wave of HIV infections recorded in the country was among female sex workers around the former US military bases. A combined medical research team of the US naval forces and the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) found HIV-infected blood when they were investigating Hepatitis B infections among female sex workers in the US bases at the time. More...