AIDS 2014 closes in Melbourne
25 July 2014
No one can be left behind if the AIDS epidemic is to come to an end by 2030. This was one of the main messages of the 20th International AIDS Conference, which closed in Melbourne, Australia, on 25 July.
Remembering the tragic events of the flight MH17 disaster, at the closing ceremony tributes were paid to the delegates tragically killed on their way to the conference.
AIDS 2014 concluded with a general sense that, despite all the progress made to date, the social determinants of the epidemic still need to be addressed. Existing punitive laws and stigma and discrimination were identified as some of the main barriers to bringing the epidemic under control. Catering for the needs of adolescents and key populations at higher risk of infection was identified as important for an effective response to AIDS, as well as focusing programmes in the geographical areas where most new HIV infections occur.
The closing ceremony saw addresses being made by prominent advocates in the global HIV response, including musician and advocate Bob Geldof, John Manwaring, an Australian representing people living with HIV, and outgoing and incoming Presidents of the International AIDS Society, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Chris Beyer, respectively.
At the end of the closing session, the conference was handed over to officials representing the organizing committee of the 21st International AIDS Conference, which will be held in Durban, South Africa, in 2016.
"If the past has taught us anything, it's that silence equals death. We do need to speak up. We are more powerful than we know it. It doesn't require any special talent. It requires one simple thing—honesty."
"The tragic events of last week have infused in all of us a renewed feeling of unity."
"Let's commit to gathering in Durban and be able to say we have made significant improvement in the treatment and prevention of AIDS."
"There is a great sense of triumph, commitment and vindication that you are on the last gasp on the journey to ending AIDS."
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