Feature Story

Fourth Conference on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia opens in Moscow

13 May 2014

The Fourth Conference on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia—the largest forum on HIV in the region—opened on 12 May in Moscow, Russian Federation. At the two-day conference, the participants are discussing regional progress in HIV prevention, treatment and care, as well as the priority actions to be taken in the countries of the region to stop the AIDS epidemic.

In his official greeting to the conference, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev confirmed the commitment of the Russian Federation to support efforts in response to HIV regionally, globally and at the national level. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov also confirmed the financial commitment to both the national and the global AIDS response and highlighted the need for joint action against HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

The more than 1200 delegates include political and community leaders, experts and people living with HIV.

In his opening address, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé made a bold call to the host government, “This conference must show to the world that this region is serious about halting this epidemic. We must strengthen international and regional cooperation to ensure our successes are scaled-up, sustained and expanded across the region.”

“We have no other choice—we need to start listening to each other, start looking for common ground and a common solution,” said Elena Bilokon, representative of the Kazakhstan Network of Women Living with HIV/AIDS.

In eastern Europe and central Asia, the number of new HIV infections rose from 120 000 in 2006 to 130 000 in 2012. Given the nature of the epidemic in the region, particular attention will be given to the prevention of HIV infections among people at higher risk of HIV infection, including injecting drug users.

Among other topics of the conference are HIV epidemic scientific projections, vaccine development, new diagnostics, HIV transmission mechanisms and the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of prevention among populations at higher risk.