1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Life
  4. Health

South Africa to host 2016 AIDS conference

South Africa to host 2016 AIDS conference South Africa to host 2016 AIDS conference

South Africa's port city of Durban will host the 21st International AIDS Conference in 2016, marking the forum's return to Africa after 16 years, AFP reports according to organisers.

Gathering scientists, policymakers and grassroots workers, the biennial conference is the biggest single get-together on the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The 20th conference in Melbourne drew around 20,000 people, of whom 13,600 were delegates and the rest were members of the public who attended an outreach event called the Global Village, the International AIDS Society (IAS) said as the six-day event wound down.

The July 17-22 2016 conference will return to a venue that saw "a watershed" in the history of AIDS, said Chris Beyrer, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland, who will co-chair the event.

Charged with emotion, the 2000 conference was the first to be held in Africa.

It took place at a time when each year, hundreds of thousands of Africans were dying for lack of HIV drugs that were available in rich countries but beyond the financial reach of poor ones.

Stirred by apartheid campaigner and former South African president Nelson Mandela, it unleashed the effort to bring down the cost of the drug lifeline and helped roll back AIDS denialism in the host country.

The 2016 conference will be co-chaired by Beyrer and Olive Shisana, who heads South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).

Main topics in 2016 are likely to include progress towards providing drugs to all badly-infected people and the plight of HIV-infected women in Africa, they said.

"Coming back to Durban, after what will be 16 years after the last conference in Africa, will be a historical opportunity to close that treatment gap," Beyrer said.

The South African province of KwaZulu-Natal "has the highest rate of HIV among women anywhere in the world," he said.

"Durban is ground zero for women with HIV, and that's why we feel it's so critically important to be there."

The International AIDS Conference alternates with a conference on scientific aspects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, next held in Vancouver, Canada, from July 19-22 2015.

Since 1981, around 78 million people have been infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, according to the UN programme UNAIDS. Thirty-nine million have died from AIDS-related illnesses.

In 2013, around 35 million people were living with HIV, nearly 71 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Last year, 12.9 million people in low- and middle-income countries had access to HIV drugs, but at least 28 million are eligible for them under World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.


Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights