Understanding the Epidemic and Strengthening Prevention Efforts
Testing facilities are few and surveillance activities often limited to specific groups, giving rise to worries that the epidemic is more spread than officially recognized. In recent years, many countries have dramatically increased their budget to improve treatment access, but the effort to reduce HIV transmission is faltering, also because of socio-cultural constraints in promoting safe sex and safe needle exchanges. These and other related issues will be examined in Track A.
Attention will be devoted to the genomic diversity of HIV, the ways distinct viral subtypes are expanding in different geographic allocations and the challenges such diversity poses for vaccine development. Epidemiological trends and modes of transmission will be discussed, including dimensions of vulnerability and risk. The focus is on prevention strategies, including VCT, promotion of condoms, treatment of STIs; involvement of PLHIV and other affected groups, empowering of vulnerable groups, multi-sectoral partnerships, access to clean needles and substitution treatment for IDUs, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission, but linkages with care and treatment will also be taken into account.
Strengthening Partnership for Treatment, Care, and Support
Evaluation of ARV treatment will be of special interest for this track. Issues of supply, delivery mechanism at all level of services, integration of ARV treatment with other services, adherence, and the impact of special services such as methadone maintenance therapy for IDUs, will be accommodated. Alternative and complimentary approaches to quality care, support and treatment of specific populations such as infants, children and adolescents and pregnant women will be also be prioritized. Care and support (psychosocial, legal, and professional) for health workers are important issues which we do not want to overlook. This track also appreciates new ideas in culturally appropriate palliative care and support for the poor. The provision of treatment, care and support by other stakeholders than government will be highlighted.
HIV/AIDS in Context: Understanding and Addressing Socio-Cultural, Economic and Political Determinants
HIV/AIDS has multiple cultural and socio-economic impacts on individuals, families, communities and nations, which often are not sufficiently understood. Chronic and emerging inequities in the epidemic have still to be tackled and global, national and local interaction is fraught with tensions. Power structures define research, funding and policy priorities, often at the disadvantage of most vulnerable groups. Government and multilateral agency support is necessary, but it also creates dependency. Cultural changes may bring emancipation and greater diversity, while creating insecurity and fundamentalist reactions. Religion can be a force of tolerance and care, but also a barrier to an open discussion of sexuality and condom promotion. Vulnerable and stigmatized groups are on the front-line of the pandemic, their resilience often overlooked.
Special attention will be devoted to societal structures and community resilience, highlighting power relations across sectors and levels, and strategies that challenge such structures in order to reduce the spreading of the epidemic and break the barriers to universal access to prevention, treatment and care.
Leadership and Broadening the Response
This track prioritises policies and programs that bring quality treatment services and care to every community and break any geographical or cultural barriers. Any investment on infrastructures, mechanisms, legislative support, and work that break this isolation will be seriously considered for this track. While this track welcomes examples of local and national policies and programs, we also need to hear more about trans-national collaborations.
This track will discuss a number of issues related to leadership for HIV and AIDS programs, such as the importance of networking among different players, the relationship and harmonisation between international donor agencies with national organizations, and the mechanism to strengthen the capacity of local organizations (GO and NGO) for sustainability.
The effort to eliminate stigma and discrimination on HIV and AIDS is still an important issue. This track will also discuss cases among migrant workers that must be solved in regional and international setting.
Cross Cutting Themes