More than 20,000 delegates from around the world have gathered in Washington, D.C., for the XIX International AIDS Conference, which focuses on mobilizing governments and communities to achieve the vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
“This conference will stand as a historic milestone on our journey to end this epidemic,” the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé, said as the conference opened in Washington, D.C. yesterday. “We are entering a new era in the AIDS response.”
The Conference’s theme, ‘Turning the tide together,’ reflects what is considered to be a unique moment in the history of the HIV epidemic, according to UNAIDS.
It is believed that by acting decisively on recent scientific advances in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention, building momentum for an HIV cure, and harnessing the evidence of the ability to scale-up key interventions in the most-needed settings, an end to the epidemic is now within reach.
On the eve of the opening of the conference, a stellar cast of artists, political leaders, and community activists came to Washington, D.C. to mark more than three decades of the global response to the HIV epidemic.
The event, held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, united some of the leading voices in the global effort to achieve an AIDS-free generation. Participants included Bill Gates, Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, Joan Osborne, Patti Austin, Herbie Hancock, bipartisan members of Congress, and prominent AIDS advocates from the worlds of business, science, and civil society.
Uniting for an AIDS-free generation—the theme of the event—took the audience on a historical journey through the history of AIDS, highlighting the early days of the epidemic and key milestones in the world’s response to the disease. Through music and personal anecdotes, guests shared experiences of how HIV has shaped society and brought forward a global movement never before witnessed for a disease.
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