Monday, August 20, 2007

8th ICAAP Perspectives

Updates from the UNAIDS Website...
The eighth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) takes place in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 19-23 August 2007. In the run up to the event, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Deborah Landey and UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Prasada Rao, share their hopes and expectations for the conference that will host an expected 3,000 participants from some 60 countries throughout the region.

Visions for ICAAP8: Deborah Landey, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director

Why is this conference important?

I think this conference is extremely important for the world and it’s very important for Asia. Many of the countries in Asia and the Pacific have relatively low prevalence and it’s an opportunity for us to take stock of what’s happening in the region and to come out with the goal of keeping Asia a low prevalence area of the world in terms of AIDS.

What are the focus areas for UNAIDS at this conference?

We are very concerned to emphasize the importance of leadership in responding to the epidemic at all levels—from governments to civil society, all players, actors must be involved.

It’s absolutely vital for countries to ‘know their epidemics’ – and by this we mean really having the most recent, developed data on what is going on with the epidemic in order to be able to use relatively scare resources effectively. In particular we are interested in understanding what we call the ‘drivers of the epidemic’ – the underlying systemic issues such as gender inequality, stigma and discrimination—and getting at these issues so that countries can make fundamental changes to get ahead of their epidemics.

We also want to emphasise that AIDS is going to be with us for a long time to come and therefore the long term agenda and all the issues we need to be thinking about for future generations are extremely important for us to consider here at this meeting.

Read more here.

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