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People Living With HIV Make Their Mark at IAS 2015 in Vancouver

July 28, 2015

Of the significant outcomes of the IAS 2015 in Vancouver that closed just last week, one was the signing of the Vancouver Consensus Statement (2015). It's an urgent call to world leaders, donors, governments, clinicians and civil society to ensure that all people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral treatment upon diagnosis and the strategic use of ARVs for treatment and prevention in order to meet the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.

It's progressive and addresses the priorities that recent science has dictated make sense in the current environment. Treatment as prevention is there, early treatment is there, better access to medication is there. You can read the Consensus Statement here and/or read aidsmap's review of it here.

Does it do enough to enshrine the rights and priorities of people living with HIV? Perhaps not, said a group of people living with HIV, who quickly gained support for the release of a second statement which builds upon the Vancouver Statement, agrees with its approach but adds important safeguards for people living with HIV. Called The Canadian Declaration by Persons living with HIV (2015), it's a human rights based document that ensures people living with HIV are not coerced into treatment, have immediate access to HIV medications and, amongs other provisions, are fully engaged in all phases of the global approach to ending the epidemic.

It concludes, "To truly achieve or exceed the 90-90-90 targets globally, the scientific, research, medical and pharmaceutical communities, policy makers, international and governmental bodies, funders, and donors must work together with people living with HIV and activists as allies to address more than the bio-medical issues associated with HIV. We must all commit to reducing and eliminating the social and structural impediments that continue to put people at risk of HIV and that drive the epidemic."

Organizers report that within a day, 50 individuals and/or organizations from 12 countries had signed on to show solidarity behind people living with HIV, since expanded to 111 persons and/or organizations. Organizers are encouraging others to sign on here and distribute to others. A French version will be available shortly.

Want to know who has signed up so far? Go here.

Myself and are original signatories to the declaration because we believe in its combination of a progressive approach to ending the epidemic that is comprehensive of the concerns and invovment of people living with HIV while protecting their human rights.

We were at the media launch on Vancouver's waterfront on July 22, 2015, the last day of the conference. You'll see our video below of some of the people living with HIV attending IAS 2105 talking about why the declaration is important to them.

Consider signing it, won't you?

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Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.


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