aids conference amsterdam 2018
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Summary of the AIDS Conference Amsterdam 2018

The AIDS Conference Amsterdam 2018 took place on July 23-27th in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The conference is one of the many milestones that the global community is implementing in order to put an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. With millions still affected by the virus today, there is an urgent need for more sustainable solutions to eradicate the disease. During the event, scientists and experts from around the world discussed the most pertinent issues on the topic. Activities included conferences, policy discussions, research presentations, break-out sessions, and more.

Importance of the AIDS Conference

HIV/AIDS is a devastating disease. To date, there is no cure or vaccination for it. The global health community has found a way to manage the disease. However, 940,000 people still died from HIV-related issues in 2017. In addition, 1.8 million new infections surged around the world in the same year. In overall terms, the numbers are even more alarming. There are 36.9 million people living with HIV/AIDS today. Meanwhile, the epidemic has claimed 35 million lives since it was first discovered. But the sheer numbers are not the only concern. Many of the people living with HIV/AIDS face discrimination in their communities and even within healthcare systems. Additionally, millions still lack access to proper healthcare to manage their disease.

Conference Objectives

In light of the issues surrounding the treatment, prevention, and eradication of HIV/AIDS, the conference addressed a multi-faceted number of objectives. One was to share new research and best practices in order to replicate them in communities around the world. Secondly, the conference focused on promoting a human-rights based approach to HIV/AIDS response and treatment. Furthermore, the AIDS Conference 2018 worked on strategies to activate new political commitment to issues surrounding the disease. And finally, the conference highlighted the gaps in funding, research, and implementation. 

Highlights During the Conference

The 22nd AIDS Conference Amsterdam 2018 was a global event with participants arriving from 160 countries. The event spanned five days. As many as 16,000 researchers were present during the event discussing the latest findings in healthcare, community, political, and technological aspects related to the disease. In total, there were 3,000 abstracts submitted to the conference. There was also a special emphasis on youth-focused and youth-led programs. Of the researchers present, one-third were youth and junior researchers.

Results of the Conference

Overall, the conference was a positive influence on the current state of affairs in the HIV/AIDS sector. One of the main conclusions of the five days of discussion was the fact that prevention is absolutely key to ridding the world of the disease. For this, there is a strong need to raise more funds and rekindle the interest of governments around the world in order to implement and fund prevention programs. Additionally, concerns were raised about Eastern Europe and Central Asia exposure to the disease. Critical intervention is needed to fight HIV/AIDS in these regions, as numbers are on the rise particularly due to HIV criminalization. Another important proposal is to integrate the treatment of HIV and Tuberculosis (TB). Finally, the sector identified a large funding gap. Without the much-needed funding, it will be impossible to stop the epidemic and eradicate HIV/AIDS.

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