By Sébastien Morin, IAS-ILF Research Officer
The International AIDS Society (IAS) recognizes the crucial role that a diversity of stakeholders, including industry, plays in the response to the HIV epidemic and also values the involvement of and dialogue with many key stakeholders. Only through a fully multi‑stakeholder approach can critical gaps in HIV research and implementation strategies be identified and effective solutions developed for addressing them.
At AIDS 2014, the IAS will convene a large group of diverse industry stakeholders for a bi-directional consultation. This closed meeting will be an occasion for the IAS to present its strategic programmes and priorities (e.g., Key Affected Populations, Paediatrics/CIPHER, Towards an HIV Cure, Journal of the International AIDS Society, Prizes and Awards/Grants and Fellowships) while getting insights from industry partners regarding their interests in order to foster further collaboration. Following short presentations by IAS Governing Council members and staff, the meeting will be devoted to a roundtable discussion around industry partners’ interests and how the IAS can support industry and benefit from this interaction. The broad, high‑level industry representation will include antiretroviral (ARV) manufacturers, diagnostics companies, condom manufacturers and circumcision device manufacturers, as well as companies involved in HIV cure, vaccine research and public health programme implementation. The valuable consultation will be organized by the IAS-Industry Liaison Forum (IAS-ILF).
The IAS-ILF is a mechanism to inform and support collaboration and partnership between industry and the IAS. The IAS-ILF Advisory Group is composed of representatives from industry, together with non-industry representatives (from academia, NGOs, public health organizations and the community) knowledgeable in the topics covered by IAS Priorities. The IAS-ILF Advisory Group not only allows the IAS to interact with industry, but it also allows non-industry and industry stakeholders to interact with each other, a hallmark of the IAS‑ILF since its inception. Its reputation as an independent convener makes it the perfect platform for such interactions to take place. Guided by this strong, multi‑stakeholder advisory group, the IAS-ILF performs this broad task by regularly providing opportunities for industry to understand and assess the IAS’s interests and priorities, and vice versa, seeking common ground to enhance the impact of our response to HIV and related co-morbidities. The IAS-ILF is designed to take advantage of the IAS’s key strengths: its well-respected convening power, its acknowledged neutrality towards industry and other key partners and stakeholders, and its diverse working groups composed of some of the world’s top thought leaders and scientific experts in a wide array of fields.
Through the IAS-ILF Advisory Group and activities, the IAS hopes that its interactions with industry take place on a broader scheme in terms of aspects of collaboration and that they include organizations from diverse areas: ARVs, diagnostics, condoms, circumcision, vaccine, HIV cure research and programme implementation. The flow of activities involves high-level contacts to be created through the IAS-industry consultations; work within the framework of the IAS-ILF Advisory Group includes convening multi‑stakeholder thematic roundtables, contributing ideas and expertise to IAS Priorities, and organizing other activities judged essential and timely for a comprehensive HIV/AIDS response.
For additional information on the IAS-ILF and its portfolio of activities to enhance interactions between stakeholders and industry (including the IAS-Industry Consultation planned at AIDS 2014), please contact Sébastien Morin, IAS-ILF Research Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org).