30th November 2011

Australia to host 2014 International AIDS Conference

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon today congratulated Melbourne on its selection as the host city for the esteemed International Aids Conference in 2014.

Minister Rudd said the conference will be the largest medical conference to be held in Australia and will bring together more than 14,000 of the world’s leading scientists, healthcare providers, public health experts, political, community and business leaders and the HIV-affected community.

“Australia is a leader in HIV and AIDS research and response, and winning the right to host the conference pays tribute to that,” Mr Rudd said.

“Australia continues to be at the forefront of our region's response to HIV/AIDS. Our assistance in Papua New Guinea - a country with the region's second highest rate of infection - has ensured an increase in people accessing treatment from just over 2000 in 2007 to 7500 last year.”

Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said that although Australia continues to have one of the lowest rates of new HIV diagnoses in the world, there is no room for complacency.

“In the words of Australia’s theme for World AIDS day 2011, HIV is still here and despite advances in treatment and the success of Australia's response, about 1,000 people are still diagnosed with HIV in Australia each year,” Ms Roxon said.

“More than 21,000 Australians, far too many, are living with HIV, so prevention remains a priority for the Australian Government.

“We have been at the forefront in the prevention and treatment of HIV – we were, for example, one of the first countries to introduce HIV screening of the blood supply and implement clean needle and syringe programs.”

The Government currently spends about $70 million a year in Australia on a variety of programs related to HIV and other blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections, including funding for research, prevention, education, advocacy, surveillance and protection of the blood supply. In addition, it funds medications through the Highly Specialised Drugs program as well as medical and pathology services.

The Government has also developed the Sixth National HIV Strategy 2010–2013 to provide guidance and policies relating to the prevention, testing and treatment of HIV in Australia.

The International AIDS Conference is one of the most prestigious conferences in the world. Held bi-annually, the conference provides a forum for key players in the fight against the HIV epidemic to meet and discuss the latest research and technologies.

Australia is providing at least $500,000 through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to support conference streams dedicated to addressing HIV in developing countries and to assist countries in our region to participate in the conference.

The conference will be held over 6 days in July 2014 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and is expected to generate around $80 million for the Victorian economy.

Minister Rudd’s office: 0434 664 589
Minister Roxon’s office: 0409 945 476

Read the source article here.