Vienna (Agenzia Fides) – The 18th International Conference on AIDS with the theme: 'Rights Here, Right Now' will begin on 18 July in Vienna. Some 25,000 participants at AIDS 2010, legislators, programme leaders, scientists, community operators, activists and HIV+ persons will discuss the latest developments in the field of HIV/AIDS. During the five day meeting discussion will focus on universal access to HIV prevention and treatment which has still to reach many countries. Prevention of AIDS remains the principal challenge: for every two persons treated with antiretroviral (ARV) there are five new cases of contagion. Researchers will focus on progress made in new preventive technologies.
The legislators present will try to identify ways to reduce the cost of antiretroviral treatment. The cost-effectiveness of new treatment guidelines by the World Health Organization, which recommend putting people on ARVs at a CD4 count (a measure of immune strength) of 350, up from a previous recommendation of 200, will be examined. Recent studies show that treatment with ARV has reduced the chances of HIV transmission considerably, and also tuberculosis and other opportunistic diseases. One major way of transmission of AIDS in Asia, western Europe and Latin America is sharing needles and syringes, a highly dangerous habit of drug addicts which will be discussed in presentations on prevention, topics for discussion will include their rights and their involvement for prevention and treatment of HIV. On 13 July, former presidents of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, countries with a serious problem of drug trafficking, formally approved the Declaration of Vienna, which includes a call to forego the "drug war" in favour of policies based on scientific evidence of the benefits of needle and syringe programme and drug substitution therapy. (AP) (16/7/2010 Agenzia Fides).