IAS: numeri e considerazioni generali

Più di 5500 partecipanti, oltre 1400 lavori scientifici presentati, 19 forums, 14 satelliti e 9 speech plenari. La 3-a conferenza dello IAS fa questo bilancio: risicata la presenza italiana e, a nostro giudizio, anche i contenuti scientifici generali. I messaggi di apertura e conclusivi delle autorità sono sembrati un po’ demagogici e scontati.I numeri sono imponenti, ma la qualità ? Forse è corretto porsi il problema se è giusto spendere tante risorse per assistere ad eventi congressuali nei quali, se uno tira un po’ di somme, oltre una cornice affascinante, rimane poco. Purtroppo sono sempre attuali le considerazioni che leggerete in originale, di seguito, da parte degli organizzatori: l’epidemia si espande e c’è bisogno di interventi urgenti su fronti politici…ma forse lo sapevamo gia.

Rio de Janeiro, 27 July, 2005 – The 3rd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment concluded today with international leaders in AIDS research and policy calling for a revitalized response to the global epidemic that builds on new evidence of successful programs and transforms promising research into improved prevention and treatment interventions. More than 5,500 participants attended the Conference to hear the latest developments in basic, clinical and prevention science.

“Every minute approximately 10 people become infected with HIV,” said Dr. Helene Gayle, President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and Director of the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Programme at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “This figure points to the immense challenges before us and underscores the important responsibility we share. Our challenge is to ensure that the evidence we produce leads to results.”

The four-day Conference featured over 1,400 scientific abstracts, 19 forums, 14 satellite and 9 plenary speeches. On Monday, delegates discussed the global response to the epidemic, including information on new emerging epidemics and the efforts in Brazil to provide universal access to HIV prevention and treatment. New, and potentially exciting data on the preventive effect of male circumcision were presented on Tuesday, and the same day featured a dynamic forum on brand and generic drugs. The Wednesday plenary included a report on new directions in AIDS treatment.

In a special lecture today, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot gave a report on the status of the response and what it will take to turn the epidemic around. “AIDS poses unprecedented challenges as much to science as to public policy. As such it is crucial that we plan for the long term while we take emergency actions to make universal access to HIV prevention and treatment a reality. We need much faster translation of scientific research into practical solutions to reach these goals,” said Dr Piot.

As part of Closing Ceremony, Brazilian Health Minister Saraiva Felipe gave his first major speech on HIV/AIDS since his appointment earlier this month.

According to Conference Co-Chair Dr. Mauro Schechter: “This Conference achieved our goal of convening the most renowned scientists worldwide and providing young researchers, clinicians and prevention experts a international forum to present their research. It has also been an incredible opportunity for Brazilian scientists to show Brazil’s growing role in AIDS research.”

Conference Co-Chair Dr. Celso Ramos pointed out that: “This Conference has shown that we still have a long way to go. The explosive epidemic in Eurasia, the widespread lack of access to treatment, and the appalling situation of human rights there shows us that the vigilance of the world community of scientists, activists, health workers and persons involved in HIV and AIDS can never cease.”

Noting that Conference delegates represented 128 countries, IAS Executive Director Craig McClure stated: “The truly international scope of the conference has reinforced for IAS that, as professionals working in the field of HIV/AIDS, we are Stronger Together.”

One of the key lessons from the Conference is the importance of integrating HIV prevention and treatment strategies in order to take advantage of the synergy between the two and to quickly translate science into practice and policy.