Vancouver to Host Prestigious HIV/AIDS Conference in 2015

Vancouver Convention Centre | BCBusiness
The conference will be held in July 2015 at the Vancouver Convention Centre

The 2015 conference will anchor B.C.’s status as a leader in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, organizers say

Vancouver was selected last week to host the 8th International AIDS Society (IAS) conference on HIV pathogenesis, treatment and prevention in 2015.

The IAS conference brings together scientists, doctors, public health experts and community leaders to examine developments in HIV/AIDS science and explore applications for new discoveries.

According to IAS, Vancouver was selected to host the conference after an evaluation of candidate cities based on three main criteria: impact on the epidemic, sufficient infrastructure and freedom of movement and travel for people living with HIV and AIDS.

IAS 2015 Chair Dr. Chris Beyrer, professor of epidemiology and international health at Johns Hopkins University, recognized B.C.’s leadership in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention.

“[B.C.] is making significant inroads against HIV and AIDS and providing best practices to implement in Canada and the rest of the world,” he said.

Vancouver’s seek-and-treat HIV testing and treatment programs and supervised injection site have spurred decreases in morbidity and new HIV cases. Between 1996 and 2010 B.C. saw a 60 per cent decrease in new HIV diagnoses, according to the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

Vancouver is also home to the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS at St. Paul’s Hospital, which is recognized along with director Dr. Julio Montaner, as a vital contributor in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

During clinical trials in 1996 Montaner’s team pioneered a triple-drug therapy—highly active antiretroviral therapy—which set the gold standard for HIV treatment around the word. This development was introduced at the last IAS conference held in Vancouver in 1996.

In a statement, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said that B.C. has been progressive in response to the HIV crisis and remains committed to bringing science and policy together.

The 2015 conference will be organized by the IAS in partnership with the University of British Columbia’s Division of AIDS based at St. Paul’s Hospital, and is expected to draw some 6,000 delegates.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), an estimated 3,300 Canadians are diagnosed with HIV every year, adding to the 65,000 living with HIV in this country.