The International AIDS Conference 2012 was held in Washington, DC on July 22-27 and attracted more than 30,000 participants from all over the world. The conference assembled individuals working in the field of HIV, policy makers, persons living with HIV, and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. The conference included panel discussions, exhibitions, and presentations by leading public, non-profit, and private organizations in the health field. The Crown Agents delegation included representatives from our offices in the U.K, U.S, Nigeria, and Zambia.
In support of the fight against HIV/AIDS, Crown Agents:
- Builds strong, integrated, and secure health supply chains to ensure reliable national capacity and delivery of essential medical supplies
- Designs, manages, and oversees grant mechanisms to support the fight against HIV/AIDS nationally
- Strengthens the management, leadership, and governance of health institutions
To highlight our work supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as our extensive experience strengthening health systems globally, Crown Agents hosted a reception in Washington, DC on July 24, 2012. Approximately 60 people attended the reception, including representatives from partner organizations and delegations from China, Macedonia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Zambia.
The theme of this year's conference was "Turning the Tide Together". Topics/themes discussed at the conference include:
- Improving the effectiveness and efficiency in the response to AIDS (in light of funding reductions), particularly related to treatment
- The need for new innovative financing mechanisms
- The need to renew efforts on new prevention methods and rollout of existing ones (e.g., Treatment as Prevention, PREp, Microbicides, Male Circumcision)
- Treatment, looking at impact of rollout of new (Tenofovir-based) treatment regimens
- Applying lessons from the fight against AIDS to poverty reduction and other MDGs
- General recognition that AIDS does not just require a medical response and focus needs to also be placed on systems strengthening, as well as civil society involvement and community mobilization.
The overall sense from the community is that much positive work has been done throughout the world to respond to the AIDS epidemic, including millions of lives saved, but the massive advances are threatened by funding cutbacks. USAID Administrator Shah focused on country ownership and sustainability, while Global Fund GM Gabriel Jaramillo faced protesters alarmed by changes in the GF's funding priorities. There remains a gap of approximately $7 billion in funding that sees little chance of being filled, especially with budget cutting pressures in the US and Europe. Needless to say, the 450 page conference brochure attests to the enormous amount of work that has resulted from years of unique international collaboration to fight a global epidemic.