AIDS Conference to open in Vienna

16 July 2010 - Over 20,000 people working in the field of HIV, including policymakers, legislators, researchers and people living with HIV from 190 countries will converge in Vienna this week for the XVIII  International AIDS Conference to be held from 18 - 23 July. The theme for this year's conference is Rights Here Rights Now, which emphasizes the central importance of human rights in responding to HIV.

Among the high profile participants at the Conference will be Annie Lennox, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Heinz Fischer, Federal President of Austria, and HRH Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway.

By holding the conference in Vienna, the organizers will highlight the situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, regions experiencing a fast growing epidemic largely through unsafe injecting drug use. An estimated 1.5 million people are living with HIV in these regions. Sharing needles and injection equipment is thought to be three times more likely to transmit HIV than sexual intercourse.

At the conference, participants will also examine worldwide progress towards the 2010 deadline set by world leaders in the Millennium Development Goals for achieving universal access to services for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and HIV prevention.

The United Nations, through the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and UNODC, is supporting the AIDS 2010 conference. UNODC is the lead agency within UNAIDS for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for injecting drug users and in prison settings. It works in 55 priority countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, South and South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, helping countries to provide drug users, prisoners and people vulnerable to human trafficking with comprehensive evidence-informed HIV services.

"We can and must reverse the HIV epidemic, first of all by preventing the spread of drug use, and then by providing treatment to addicts. In this comprehensive programme, HIV-targeted measures include providing clean injecting equipment, opioid substitution and antiretroviral therapy," said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa.

At the Conference, UNODC will launch the discussion paper "From coercion to cohesion: Treating drug dependence through health care, not punishment". The paper will be released in conjunction with the re-launch of the Open Society Institute's (OSI) 2010 report, "Detention as Treatment: Detention of methamphetamine users in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand", and is aimed at highlighting the issues surrounding detention centres and compulsory treatment for drug users.

UNODC will also launch the "Toolkit for HIV Situation and Needs Assessment in Prisons" to support and guide Governments in conducting situational and needs assessments for the design and implementation of effective HIV intervention programmes.

The Global Village forms part of the conference that will be open to the general public and conference delegates where groups from all over the world will meet, share and learn from each other.

UNODC activites at Aids 2010

July 19 - 12:30 to 2:30 PM
An experience of integrated efforts in the response to HIV and AIDS in prison settings in Brazil

July 19 - 6 to 8 PM
HIV in prisons: Partnership networks

July 21 - 1 to 2 PM
Knowing your epidemic: Situation and needs assessment in prisons

July 21 - 4 to 5 PM
Detention centres for drug users

July 21 - 6:30 to 8:30 PM
HIV Risks and the Compulsory Centers for Drug Users

Related information

AIDS 2010

Facts about drug use and the spread of HIV

UN Agencies taking part in the Conference

All stories