Melbourne Declaration calls for the eradication of discrimination against people living with or at risk of HIV

Red RibbonA declaration affirming that non-discrimination is fundamental to an evidence-based response to HIV and effective public health programmes has been announced by the organizers of the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), to be held in Melbourne, Australia, from 20-25 July 2014.

“The enforcement of discriminatory and criminalising laws and policies against Key Affected Populations is deeply alarming.” said Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, AIDS 2014 International Chair, President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and Director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.

“Such practices clearly violate basic human rights and heavily undermine HIV programmes by posing barriers to access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. With the declaration we want to reiterate that every individual has the same rights and dignity as everyone else as we are born equal and part of the human family. “

All individuals and organizations involved in the global response to HIV and AIDS are encouraged to visit and sign the declaration at www.aids2014.org/declaration.aspx and to share it with their networks.

“If we really want to change the course of HIV we must make sure that nobody is left behind. AIDS 2014 will be a truly global, inclusive conference and will reflect the principles of the declaration” commented Professor Sharon Lewin, Local Co-Chair of AIDS 2014, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University and Co-Head of the Centre for Biomedical Research at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne.

“We are excited to offer a strong conference programme exploring in great depth all the hot issues in the three programme areas: Science, Community, and Leadership and Accountability. As part of the programme, the Global Village and Youth Programme will offer a dynamic a vibrant platform for youth, activists and community representatives”.

The AIDS 2014 programme is already available online and includes: plenaries, special sessions; regional sessions, symposia sessions oral abstract sessions, poster discussion sessions and workshops. The interactive AIDS 2014 programme with all abstracts listed will be available at the end of May.

Nineteen major plenary speakers presentations will focus on the primary issues facing the global response to HIV and AIDS. Plenary sessions will open each day of the conference and will set the tone for a wide range of other sessions.

“AIDS 2014 will investigate the current and future scenarios of HIV with a focus on co-infections and co-morbidities, HIV cure and vaccine findings, paediatric and adolescent HIV, and HIV financing and investments,” said Professor Lewin.

“A substantial part of the programme will be also dedicated to the challenges faced by key affected populations to access to HIV prevention, treatment and care.”

The 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, including scientists, medical practitioners, activists, policymakers, people living with HIV and others committed to ending the epidemic.

It is an opportunity for researchers from around the world to share the latest scientific advances in the field, learn from one another’s expertise, and develop strategies for advancing all facets of our collective efforts to treat and prevent HIV.

AIDS 2014 is expected to convene over 14,000 participants from nearly 200 countries, including between 800-1,000 journalists. The conference will be held from 20 – 25 July 2014 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

For more information, visit: www.aids2014.org for details.

Image: Red Ribbon – courtesy of UNAIDS

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