Organizers of the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) have announced that President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, philanthropist Bill Gates, and humanitarian Sir Elton John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, will be among the high-level speakers who will join thousands of the world’s top AIDS researchers, community leaders, and other stakeholders in Washington, D.C. this summer.

An estimated 25,000 attendees are expected to attend AIDS 2012, which will take place from 22 to 27 July under the theme Turning the Tide Together.

President Clinton will deliver keynote remarks at the closing session on Friday, 27 July. Sir Elton John will deliver a keynote address on Monday, 23 July. Also expected to take part are Whoopi Goldberg and Sharon Stone.

In the last few years various research trials, including HPTN 052, CAPRISA 004, TDF2, Partners PrEP, and iPrEx have demonstrated the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs and HIV treatment as prevention, while other studies are currently investigating the possibility of a cure for HIV.

“Thanks to these scientific advances, for the first time we have a real opportunity to make a major dent in the epidemic,” said Elly Katabira, International Chair of AIDS 2012 and President of the International AIDS Society (IAS).

“We are delighted to welcome the world’s leading AIDS scientists to AIDS 2012, and to have secured these high-level keynote speakers at this crucial time in the global response to HIV.”

The theme of AIDS 2012, Turning the Tide Together, has been selected to emphasize how a global and decisive commitment is crucial to change the course of the epidemic now that science is presenting promising results in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention. This biennial event is the world’s largest meeting on AIDS, where leading scientists report on the latest AIDS research, and together with implementers, community leaders and policymakers, help to identify next steps in the global response to AIDS.

AIDS 2012 represents a unique occasion to mobilize policy makers, governments, NGOs, scientists, people living with HIV and civil society to join forces,” said Dr. Diane Havlir, U.S. Co-Chair of AIDS 2012 and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

“Despite the global turbulent economic climate we cannot miss this historic moment, and it is vital to continue to attract funding to invest in AIDS research and promote programmes based on effectiveness and efficiency in order to optimize the use of resources,” concluded Havlir.

The full AIDS 2012 programme is now available through the conference website www.aids2012.org and significant parts of the programme – including webcasts of key sessions, speeches, slide presentations, abstracts, digital posters, session-specific and daily rapporteur reports, as well as workshop handouts and audio recordings, will also be online during the conference.

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