International News

Piot Warns Full Impact of HIV/AIDS Yet to Be Seen as International AIDS Society Conference Ends in Brazil

July 28, 2005

The full impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic has not yet been seen, as a record five million new HIV cases were reported worldwide last year and China and Central Asia are experiencing new outbreaks of the disease, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said at the 3rd International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, which ended Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the AP/ reports. "It's still an emerging epidemic. Just now we're getting into the globalization phase," Piot said, adding, "Globalization isn't just for profits and markets, it is also for AIDS" (Astor, AP/, 7/28). The World Health Organization also expressed concern over the rapid spread of HIV in Asia, calling for a renewed commitment to prevention methods and stronger political will. "Our greatest fear is that if the evolution of the epidemic continues at the present level, Asia will tomorrow be something similar to Africa: a great human disaster," WHO HIV/AIDS Programme Director Jim Yong Kim said (Xinhuanet, 7/28). In his closing speech, Piot urged conference attendees to "plan for the long term" while taking "emergency actions to make universal access to HIV prevention and treatment a reality" (IAS conference release, 7/27). Piot also urged donors to provide more funding for the research and development of microbicides, which could help women protect themselves from HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases without relying on their partners' consent. Currently, only half of the $300 million needed annually to develop microbicides -- which would be available as gels, films, sponges or other products -- is available, Piot said. Some researchers say an effective microbicide could become available by 2009 (Khalip/Palermo, Reuters, 7/27). Webcasting Key Sessions
In partnership with IAS, is the official webcaster of the 3rd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, which began on Sunday and concluded on Wednesday. provided daily webcasts of sessions and press conferences, as well as interviews with newsmakers, which are available to download for podcasting. The webcasts and interviews are available at no cost and without registration. Additional information about viewing webcasts is available online, and organizations are welcome to link to's conference coverage from their Web sites. Webcasts of Wednesday's sessions are now available online, including a plenary on treatment and treatment responses, the closing press conference featuring Piot, a forum on prevention in health care settings, a special lecture on the status of the response to the pandemic and the closing ceremony.

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