Feature story

AIDS 2008 opens

04 August 2008

President of Mexico, Felipe de Jesús
Calderón Hinojosa at the opening of XVII
International AIDS Conference, Mexico City.
Credit: UNAIDS/agencialibrefoto

With great celebration and a characteristically warm Latin American welcome, the XVII International AIDS Conference opened on Sunday 3 August in Mexico City. Thousands of delegates from all over the world will spend the next week participating in conference sessions, satellite meetings, exhibitions as well as the Global Village and a wide cultural programme.

The event, the largest AIDS conference in the world, is held every two years and in 2008 for the first time it is taking place in the Latin America region.

The opening event included welcoming remarks by AIDS 2008 Co-Chairs, Dr Pedro Cahn and Dr Luís Soto Ramírez and addresses by high level dignitaries including Dr José Ángel Córdoba Villalobos, Secretary of Health, Mexico; Dr María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, First Vice President of Spain and Minister of the Presidency; Dr Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico.

Secretary General of United
Nations, Ban Ki-Moon also
addressed the opening ceremony
of AIDS 2008.Credit:

Representing the United Nations, Secretary General of United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon; Executive Director of UNAIDS Dr Peter Piot and Director General of World Health Organization Dr Margaret Chan also addressed the opening ceremony.

Twelve-year old Keren Dunaway-González from Honduras gave the Youth Welcome address and the Community Welcome was by Mony Pen from Cambodia

The opening of the XVII International AIDS Conference also featured the Red Ribbon Award Recipients and entertainment by the Mexican Folk Ballet Amalia Hernández and the music group “HIV is not a rock band!” and was broadcast live in Global Village.

World leaders and HIV experts join community activists

The conference theme, Universal Action Now! emphasizes the need for continued urgency and action on the part of all involved in the worldwide response to AIDS.

Executive Director of UNAIDS Dr Peter Piot
Credit: UNAIDS/agencialibrefoto

AIDS 2008 is convened by the International AIDS Society. Local partners include the Federal Government of Mexico, the Government of Mexico City and local scientific and community leadership. International institutional partners for AIDS 2008 include: Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and its cosponsors, the World Health Organization and World Food Programme; International Council of AIDS Service Organizations; Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS /International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS; World YWCA; and the Asian Harm Reduction Network.