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Digital divide: AIDS conference to help resource-limited delegates

Organisers of an international conference on HIV and AIDS will help in-person and virtual delegates in resource-limited settings to attend the 2022 conference.

The International AIDS Society had announced its 24th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2022) will be held in Montreal, Canada and online between 29 July and 2 August 2022.

An ‘ambitious’ scholarship programme will ensure attendees from low- and middle-income circumstances can access the conference and its content, either online or in person.

To help bridge the digital gap for attendees who do not have access to viewing devices or the internet, the society will provide internet data and hardware, including devices.

Registration for the conference, which is being held at Palais des Congres de Montreal, will open in November 2021 and those seeking support will be able to apply via the website.

The conference takes place every two years in a different city around the world. Next year’s conference in Montreal will bring together the HIV and AIDS community, including scientists, researchers, and activists.

Researchers and scientists will have the opportunity to present their latest findings throughout the educational programme. The conference will also feature spaces for organisations, businesses and pharmaceutical companies to meet and interact with members of the HIV and AIDS community.

“In the face of Covid-19, the global HIV community banded together to apply lessons learned from decades of pandemic response. It is now critical to get the HIV response back on track,” IAS president and AIDS 2022 international cochair, Adeeba Kamarulzaman said.

“AIDS 2022 will be a pivotal moment to once more galvanize the scientific, policy and activist communities to push the response forward. We owe it to the hundreds of thousands of people we still lose to AIDS-related illnesses every year.”

The Montreal conference will be the first international gathering for the AIDS community since the 90-90-90 target was updated to 95-95-95 in 2020.

This target aims to get 95 per cent of people living with HIV to be aware of their status, get 95 per cent of those people on treatment and connected to care and get 95 per cent of that group to an undetectable level of virus.

“Breakthroughs in testing and treatment have improved the global response,” AIDS 2022 local co-chair Jean-Pierre Routy said. “Communities most affected by HIV continue to push for greater inclusion and accountability. Montreal welcomes our colleagues and allies from all over the world at a truly exciting time for HIV research, policy and programmes.”

The AIDS 2020 conference was fully virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2020 conference was due to take place in San Fransisco but was pulled from the US city following protests from HIV activists who argued the city was too expensive.

The conference was moved to Mexico City before going entirely virtual.

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