International Francophone conference on HIV and hepatitis opens in Montpellier
28 April 2014
Montpellier, one of the most active cities for HIV research in France, is hosting the 7th International Francophone Conference on HIV and hepatitis. The conference began on April 27 and will run for three days.
This year’s programme will focus on how to respond more effectively to both HIV and viral hepatitis—two interlinking epidemics.
Advances in HIV testing, innovations in antiretroviral therapy, optimum allocation of resources for the AIDS response, HIV among children and adolescents and key populations, including men who have sex with men, people who use drugs and people in prison settings, are topics high on the HIV track.
The hepatitis track will focus on screening and management of hepatitis B— why challenges persist, particularly in Francophone countries in the South, and the accessibility of new hepatitis C treatments.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé urged the Francophone community to coalesce around a new model of leadership, to join forces and use the lessons and innovation of the AIDS response for other global health challenges. He also reiterated the need for social justice and the importance of leaving no-one behind.
Other speakers at the opening ceremony included Christine Katlama, President of the Association AFRAVIH; Eric Delaporte, President of the AFRAVIH 2014 Conference; Caroline Navarre, representing the City of Montpellier; Isabelle Andrieux-Meyer from the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières; Françoise Barré-Sinoussi of the Institut Pasteur; and Philippe Douste -Blazy, Chairman of the Board of UNITAID.
Ahead of the opening, Mr Sidibé hosted a high-level symposium on AIDS in the post-2015 development agenda. Participants agreed on the need to deploy all efforts to not only maintain but scale up momentum which would spur efforts to end the AIDS epidemic as a global health threat by 2030.
"The fight against AIDS is a transformative process of a global magnitude. To end the AIDS epidemic we need a bold leadership in our parliaments, our places of worship, our non-governmental organizations, our governments and our communities."
"Mr. Sidibé, as our spokesman, I would encouraqe you to explore a campaign on men in Africa. 30 years later, too many men are still reluctant to get tested, to protect themselves or to even access treatment."
"Implementing scientifically validated prevention tools is an emergency. We need a global response, integrated and coordinated with other emerging challenges. These are the conditions of a success now within our reach."
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