(Condensed from the official press release of AIDS 2008)
7 August 2008 - Researchers, community and political leaders gathered in Mexico City for the XVII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2008) today received an update on the future prospects of eradicating HIV, and were urged to give greater attention and resources to the needs of affected children, and to reject unproven strategies that ignore the realities of sex workers’ lives.
“The persistence of HIV in latent reservoirs presents a major challenge to the ultimate goal of eradicating HIV from the human body,” said Dr. Pedro Cahn, International Co-Chair of AIDS 2008. Thus, while researchers seek answers to this and other key scientific questions, it is important that the prevention and treatment knowledge that already exists today not be squandered. Dr. Luís Soto Ramírez, Local Co-Chair of AIDS 2008 warned against ignoring the needs of children affected by HIV, and continuing to marginalize groups at greatest risk for infection, which will only lead to more new infections and fewer people on treatment. “We will pay for such foolishness in the future,” he said.
An estimated 2.1 million children younger than 15 years were living with HIV in 2007, 90% of whom are in sub-Saharan
Coming up tomorrow are sessions on the future of the epidemic and new directions in HIV research; building global and national commitments for evidence-based approaches; financing sustainable national health care; and, a family and community approach to prevention and care for sexual minorities.
A full list of all sessions and activities is available through the online Programme-at-a-Glance at www.aids2008.org.