Health Funding HIV and AIDS

Motsoaledi to address 25 000 in Vienna

Written by Health-e News

Health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi will address the world’€™s largest AIDS gathering in Vienna later this year. Organisers of the 18th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) announced that President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, and Motsoaledi will be among 19 high-level speakers who will address an estimated 25 000 conference attendees.

AIDS 2010 will take place from 18 to 23 July under the theme Rights Here, Right Now.

Clinton will deliver keynote remarks on Monday, 19 July while Motsoaledi’€™s plenary presentation is on Tuesday, 20 July. Motsoaledi’€™s invitation is a clear sign that he has been embraced by the HIV/AIDS world which has in the past found itself at odds with the South African government’€™s response to the epidemic. One of South Africa’€™s lowest points was the AIDS conference in Toronto in 2006 when former health minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang opened her stall which had been adorned with lemons, garlic and African potato.

‘€œWe are delighted to have secured these two high-level keynote speakers at this crucial time in the global response to HIV,’€ said AIDS 2010 Chair Dr Julio Montaner, President of the International AIDS Society and Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, British Columbia.

‘€œUniversal access is a commitment wealthy nations made to Africa and to millions of people living in low- and middle-income countries in 2005, and those of us assembling in Vienna will not watch silently as the financial resources needed to make good on that promise falter,’€ Dr. Montaner added.

The theme of AIDS 2010 is Rights Here, Right Now, selected by organisers to emphasize the critical connection between human rights and HIV. Human rights will also be the focus of a march and rally in Vienna on Tuesday, 20 July, which will include remarks and a performance by singer songwriter and activist Annie Lennox.

‘€œThrough several plenary presentations focusing on human rights, as well as others on violence against women and girls, incarceration, drug policy and harm reduction, and positive health, dignity and prevention, we will demonstrate how stigma and discrimination are undermining public health,’€ said AIDS 2010 Local Co-Chair Dr. Brigitte Schmied, President of the Austrian AIDS Society. ‘€œEqually important, we will show what is being done to address these barriers in all regions of the world,’€ she added.

The AIDS 2010 Opening Session on 18 July will feature welcoming remarks, three plenary presentations on the state of the epidemic and a speech by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé.

South African activists Paula Akugizibwe (AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa) and Vuyiseka Dubula (Treatment Action Campaign) will both address the high-level plenaries.

Akugizibwe will speak on the State of the Epidemic: Human Rights and the Response while Dubula will share the platform with Clinton and speak on Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention. Akugizibwe works in southern Africa, but is based in Cape Town.

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Health-e News

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