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IAS 2023 Conference Highlights Australia’s Progress Against HIV and Urges Global Efforts

InternationalIAS 2023 Conference Highlights Australia's Progress Against HIV and Urges Global Efforts
By: Asim Nawaz

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: The 12th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2023) commenced in Brisbane, Australia, drawing thousands of experts from the realms of science, policy, and activism. Hosted by the International AIDS Society (IAS), the event aims to examine the latest advances in HIV research and forge a more equitable and innovative response to the epidemic.

The conference is being held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, with both in-person and virtual participation options, allowing a diverse and inclusive representation of attendees.

IAS 2023 opened with a session highlighting Australia’s extraordinary recent progress in combating HIV. Researchers released updated estimates documenting the country’s remarkable achievements in reducing new HIV acquisitions, bringing them on the cusp of eliminating HIV transmission entirely. This significant milestone has positioned Australia at the forefront of the global fight against HIV.

Charles Gilks, IAS 2023 Local Chair and Queensland Professorial Chair of Blood-Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections at the University of Queensland, emphasized the need for intensified efforts to reach marginalized communities and address health disparities. Prioritizing sexual health education and sustaining investments in research and innovation are key components of their strategy to achieve this ambitious goal.

Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care in Australia, expressed his delight in hosting the influential conference, reaffirming the country’s commitment to the international fight against HIV and AIDS. Butler stressed the importance of bipartisan collaboration and global cooperation in eliminating HIV transmission and saving lives.

The opening session also witnessed discussions about the global implications of Australia’s progress. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), lauded Australia’s success and expressed hope that it would inspire other nations to emulate these achievements. He emphasized the importance of applying the knowledge, tools, and science available to stop infections and save lives worldwide, particularly in marginalized and hard-to-reach communities.

The conference aims to spotlight other nations across Asia and the Pacific, offering diverse voices from the region a platform to contribute to the HIV response. Experts and attendees will explore ways to bridge gaps between scientific advancements, medical interventions, and communities most in need of support.

As IAS 2023 progresses, the focus will also turn to a virtual panel discussion on leadership, communication, and science. This panel will feature Anthony Fauci, the former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, who will draw parallels between lessons learned from the response to COVID-19 and the global fight against HIV. The discussion will address the importance of combating disinformation and stigmatization, which are significant barriers to effective public health responses.

IAS 2023 aims to harness the power of knowledge, collaboration, and innovation to accelerate progress toward ending the HIV epidemic. By highlighting Australia’s groundbreaking achievements and calling for collective global action, the conference seeks to inspire transformative changes in HIV research, prevention, and care worldwide.

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