20th International AIDS Conference – Melbourne 2014
The 20th International AIDS conference is slated to kick off in July 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. The conference is a huge event which will attract thousands of visitors to Melbourne to discuss the global advances, setbacks and implications of HIV/AIDS.
According to the World Health Organisation:
“Globally, around 16 million people inject drugs and 3 million of them are living with HIV. On average, one out of every ten new HIV infections is caused by injecting drug use and in parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia over 80 per cent of all HIV infections is related to drug use.”
(WHO website http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/idu/en/index.html)
Harm reduction measures such as opioid substitution (e.g. methadone) and needle syringe programs have been at the forefront of Australia’s efforts to address the transmission of HIV since the 1980’s. These initiatives have resulted in much lower prevalence of HIV/AIDS in comparison with many other countries. People who inject drugs however remain a high risk group however both at home and overseas. This makes the involvement of people who inject drugs and the people who work within their communities in next year’s conference as important as ever. There are a number of ways that you can get involved.
Submit an abstract
One off the best ways to ensure that the needs of people who inject drugs are represented at the conference is to ensure that conference organisers receive plenty of abstract submissions addressing the needs of people who inject drugs.
Abstract submission will open 1st December 2013 and close on the 6th February 2014. You can find out more about abstract submissions at http://www.aids2014.org/Default.aspx?pageId=620
With the sheer volume of visitors expected to attend the conference, conference organisers will be reliant on a large number of volunteers. There are a number of benefits to volunteering, including being able to access the conference outside of the hours of your volunteering. An online Application Form will be available from 1st April 2014. As soon as the number of volunteers needed is reached, volunteer applications will close. You can check out more about volunteering at the conference at http://www.aids2014.org/Default.aspx?pageId=616
If you are lucky enough to be able to attend the conference, don’t keep all that information to yourself; share it! Get on Twitter, Facebook or even blog about it. Record as much as you can, whether it be by photos, tweets or conference reports shared online.