"Turning the Tide Together"

XIX International AIDS Conference 2012


Washington D.C., 22 - 27 July 2012


Sunday 22 July 2012, saw the official opening of the International AIDS Conference - the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. The Conference, organized by the International AIDS Society, brings together more than 20,000 delegates, including 2,000 journalists, from nearly 200 countries to translate recent advances into action that will address means to end the epidemic, within the current context of significant global economic challenges.

The conference, hosted by the United States, takes place in Washington D.C. for the second time. In 1987, Washington D.C. was the host to the 3 rd International AIDS Conference.

This year's conference theme is "Turning the Tide Together". The theme is meant to reflect a unique moment in time, emphasizing that the response to HIV has reached a defining moment and that there is renewed optimism that a change of course in the epidemic is possible. It evokes the scale of the task ahead but also urges everyone to join forces, build and sustain the momentum to turn the tide on HIV and AIDS.

Again this year the conference programme is a full one with a variety of session types - from abstract driven , to symposia, bridging, satellite and large plenary sessions. Many of the sessions specifically address people who use drugs and people in prison, see theses conference roadmaps for more details.

One interesting feature of the Conference is the Global Village, a diverse and vibrant space for displays, discussions and performances from all over the world. With its free admission, it is open to the general public and conference delegates. Of particular interest again this year are the two networking zones - "Harm Reduction & Drug Policy: Taking Drug Users Seriously" and " Justice in Prisons: Health Access, Treatment and Prevention" , where a high turnout of delegates as well as Washingtonians is expected.

UNODC at the conference

UNODC is represented in the conference by a small delegation. In addition to its participation in the exhibition area at the common UNAIDS cosponsors' booth, UNODC:

- Organized on Wednesday 25 July from 18:30 to 20:00, in mini-room 7, a satellite session entitled " Turning the Tide? Not without prisons" showcasing the importance of addressing the HIV epidemics in a comprehensive manner.

- Will participate in a satellite session organized by the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities entitled " The Overlap of HIV, Key Populations and Psycho-Stimulant Drugs" on Thursday 26 July from 7:00 to 8:30 in mini room 4.

- Will participate in the bridging session entitled " Balance Between Justice System and Provision of Services" on Friday 27 July from 11:00 to 12:30.

- Will present two new publications , reflecting UNODC's commitment to assisting countries in providing people who use drugs and people in prisons with evidence-informed, comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care services: a Policy Brief entitled "HIV prevention, treatment and care in prisons and other closed settings: a comprehensive package of interventions " (Available in e-book version on 25 July 2012);  a discussion paper entitled "Technical Guide to HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care for Stimulant Users".

- Will present two posters in the exhibition area (1. Swaziland, 2. West Africa)

- And will attend and contribute to a series of technical sessions and events on the margins of the conference.