Between July 18 and 22, many of the world’s leading authorities in the field of HIV/AIDS Research gathered in Durban, South Africa for the 21st International AIDS Conference. With more than 18,000 delegates in attendance, the conference objectives were identified as:
- Bringing together the world’s experts to advance knowledge about HIV, present new HIV/AIDS research findings, and promote and enhance scientific and community collaborations around the world
- Promoting HIV responses that are supported by and tailored to the needs of at-risk populations or people living with HIV, including women and girls, men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, young people, and people who use drugs
- Promoting activism and community mobilization that holds leaders, industry, and governments accountable, and increases their commitment to an evidence-based, human-rights-affirming HIV and AIDS response
- Advancing a clear agenda for HIV in a post-2015 framework, including the cross-cutting issues of criminalization, gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, rights, and stigma and discrimination that keep people living with HIV at the center of the HIV response
- Building innovative partnerships with businesses, community, government, and science to strengthen HIV prevention and treatment efforts
The Canadian contingent participating in the conference included CANFAR Board members Stephen Lewis, and Dr. Sean Rourke, CANFAR Scientific Advisory Committee members Dr. Cecile Tremblay and Dr. Mark Wainberg, and CANFAR senior leaders Christopher Bunting, CEO, and Kyle Winters, COO. The Honourable Jane Philpott, Canada’s Minister of Health, was a notable presence throughout the conference. Dr. Philpott has an extensive background in HIV education as well as global advocacy for HIV and AIDS related issues, and demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the challenges that still lay ahead in the battle against HIV and AIDS.