Broadsheets will keep track of and report on the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington D.C. between July 22-27. Reports will rely upon the chatter around the venue, and circulating news in social and popular on-line media. We will specifically pay attention to the presence of the organizations whose websites we have been tracking.
Starting with them, tracked sites have announced their conference-related activities as follows:
– AIDSMAP is the official scientific reporter for the Conference. Coverage will be posted on this website with a daily bulletin of highlights. Writers will tweet from the Conference venue.
– Kaiser Family Foundation will provide online webcasts of Conference sessions and highlights.
We will also track the IAS Conference blog.
Framing issues and what to listen for
1) Expanding Uses of Treatment: The Conference opens against the backdrop of the U.S. FDA approval of Truvada, the first antiretroviral to be approved for usage on an on-going basis for pre-exposure prophylaxis. Approval will likely shape the discussions taking place, though it is difficult to know in what ways because it continues to be hard to pin down how the HIV/AIDS community feels about this decision. As noted in last month’s broadsheet, critical commentary existed but seemed muted prior to the decision. Afterwards, most tracked sites simply list the approval in their newsfeed. Two exceptions are found with the AIDS Alliance supporting the FDA’s decision, and AHF, who has amplified their language calling the decision “reckless” with the potential for catastrophic outcomes. AHF’s position has been widely circulated, but it does not appear that they are joined by other advocates, even when their position is presented in popular media as such (see Washington Post blog, in KFF and re-posted by the Body).
2) Cure: We noted the rise of cure talk in the previous Broadsheet, springboarding on findings from the Berlin patient*. Combined with calls by the US State Department and UNAIDS for an AIDS-Free Generation, and the new uses for therapeutic innovations, AIDS 2012 kicks off with bold claims about an AIDS cure. The International AIDS Society announced on Thursday (7/19) in this press release that there is now a “proof of concept” that cure is possible. The release mentions scientific articles published in high impact journals, like the New England Journal of Medicine, in tandem with this statement. KFF picked this up.
The DC Declaration is another document circulating through the Conference network declaring a commitment made by prominent scientists and activists to end the AIDS epidemic. The document link is located at the top of the AIDS 2012 website, and on the insite/UCSF blog (scientists linked to the blog appear to have been involved in drafting the document).
Of our tracked sites, we take note of UNAIDS’ new homepage that in popping blue and red colors declares, “Together, we will end AIDS” along with a report to show the way (Plus News picks up and reports on the report).
We can also find an alignment of purpose in a new POZ campaign, calling for an ‘army’ of committed folks to “end AIDS.” Most striking might be the symbol adopted: an X through an AIDS ribbon. A march to End AIDS is planned for July 24.
3) Cost: How to pay for a global expansion of therapy along the axes of prevention and treatment (as well as new areas of research) given global financial crises is a central topic of the UNAIDS report, and will no doubt hold a prominent place in the North-South discussions. We will tune in to the July 23 World Bank/USAID webcast broadcast entitled a global health funding debate, paying particular attention to the treatment of the Global Health Initiative closure (for more on this topic, see the Center for Global Development’s blog post ).
*In the June Broadsheet, we stated that the Berlin patient was German. He is actually an American man who was living in Germany at the time of the transplant.