The 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) returns to Amsterdam, July 23-27, for the first time in a quarter century and to Europe for the first time since 2010.

The biennial conference, launched in 1985 at the peak of the AIDS epidemic, is the premier gathering for advocates, policy makers, NGO representatives, researchers, journalists, and people living with HIV, who will hear about and discuss the progress and challenges of ending HIV. It is organized by the International AIDS Society, the world’s leading independent association of HIV professionals.

The conference’s theme is “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges.” It speaks to the need to more effectively reach key populations in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East/North Africa region, where the epidemic is growing, and to promote responses tailored to the needs of particularly vulnerable communities, including sex workers, transgender individuals, people who inject drugs, women and girls, and young people.

Longtime amfAR supporter Charlize Theron, founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, delivered an opening address on July 24, while former President Bill Clinton will give the keynote on July 27. Austrian singer and drag artist Conchita Wurst discussed the persistent challenge of stigma and discrimination at the opening ceremony on July 23. The Eurovision winner disclosed he is HIV positive earlier this year.

amfAR has a strong presence at this year’s conference. Greg Millett, Vice President and Director of Public Policy, co-moderated a Facebook Live session on HIV funding, and will co-led a session titled “The diseases and conditions that intersect with HIV” as part of an IAS/AVAC Journalist Fellows initiative. He also co-sponsored a session on optimizing the impact of key population programming across the HIV cascade.

Public Policy staff will participate in several oral and poster sessions associated with the reinstated and expanded Mexico City Policy signed by President Trump in 2017. For example, Brian Honermann, Deputy Director, will participate in a press conference addressing the issue and will lead a workshop titled “Understanding the Global Gag Rule: A Practical Workshop for How to Sustain Global Health Progress Amidst the New U.S. Policy Environment.”

amfAR-funded scientist Dr. Brad Jones of the George Washington University led a plenary session on the newest science in the search for a cure and vaccine. Other grantees will present posters, give talks, and chair or co-chair sessions on topics such as therapeutic vaccines, the role of broadly neutralizing antibodies in cure and vaccine research, the promises and pitfalls of cure strategies, and progress toward HIV remission. Scientific program highlights included:
* Results from APPROACH, a vaccine study evaluating the safety of multiple regimens;
* An assessment of the likelihood of controlling the HIV epidemic among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030;
* Data on prevention and treatment progress in key countries;
* New evidence on the effectiveness of treatment as prevention in gay male couples; and
* New research on the possibility that feminizing hormone therapy may affect the efficacy of PrEP in transgender women.

“The Netherlands is a great example of what happens when a government supports outstanding science and embraces evidence-based HIV programs in combination with a robust commitment to human rights,” said IAS president Chris Beyrer. “We are delighted to convene the International AIDS Conference in a city and country so committed to fighting the epidemic.”

For more information on amfAR and TREAT Asia’s role at the conference, click here.

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