World AIDS Day: ‘Putting People First’ at IAS 2023 in Brisbane


IAS logo over Brisbane backdrop
Image: Supplied

On World AIDS Day, we pause to mourn the loss of our loved ones, honour their lives and mark the progress we’ve made in the past 40 years. 

Advances in the field over the past four decades have been significant.

Yet, a staggering 1.5 million people acquired HIV last year and 650,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

The latest data from UNAIDS is clear: inequalities are a principal driver of the HIV pandemic. 

We must change our approach. For example, rather than thinking of “hard-to-reach populations”, we should think of “hard-to-reach health services”.

Let us not put the responsibility of access to care, knowledge or resources on people.

Instead, let’s be sure that all of our strategies build around the individual – especially the most vulnerable. 

Putting people first

Putting people first across all aspects of the HIV response is a moral imperative and the only viable route to progress.

Whether in the design of clinical trials, the formulation of policies or any other aspect of our efforts: people living with and affected by HIV must be not just beneficiaries but the actors driving our efforts.

We also call on all those active in the HIV response to:

  • Champion an environment that empowers all to be part of the conversation.
  • Consider yourselves accountable to people living with and affected by HIV first and foremost.
  • Weigh and measure all your actions against their impact on people’s lives.

This is what a person-centred approach should look like across our entire movement.   

On World AIDS Day, we call on all organisations involved in the HIV response to examine what a person-centred approach means for you and your organisation.

We challenge you to closely examine how well your strategies and programmes put people living with and affected by HIV first at all stages of your work.

We will not overcome HIV unless we overcome inequality first. And we won’t overcome inequality unless we put people first. 

About IAS – the International AIDS Society

IAS – the International AIDS Society – convenes, educates and advocates for a world in which HIV no longer presents a threat to public health and individual well-being.

After the emergence of HIV and AIDS, concerned scientists created the IAS to bring together experts from across the world and disciplines to promote a concerted HIV response.

Today, the IAS and its members unite scientists, policy makers and activists.

In doing so, we aim to galvanize the scientific response, build global solidarity and enhance human dignity for all those living with and affected by HIV.

IAS comes to Brisbane

Putting people first is a core organisational value for the IAS. We live this value across the spectrum of our activities.

IAS 2023 will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and run from the 23rd to the 26th of July.

It will aim to shine a spotlight on critical advances in basic, clinical and operational HIV research that move science into policy and practice.

To ensure that IAS 2023 puts people first, we will:

  • Provide reduced rates for people from low- and middle-income countries.
  • Continue to offer scholarships for delegates with limited access to resources to make access as equitable as possible.
  • Engage people living with and affected by HIV and communities in planning the conference programme.
  • Use the conference platform to also shine light on inequalities in the HIV response.

The IAS Conference on HIV Science

The IAS Conference on HIV Science is the world’s most influential meeting on HIV research and its applications.

This biennial conference presents the critical advances in basic, clinical and operational HIV research that move science into policy and practice.

Through its open and inclusive programme, the meeting sets the gold standard of HIV science, featuring highly diverse and cutting-edge research.

Get involved in IAS 2023! Learn how you can take part and spread the word.

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Nate Woodall

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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