On Sunday, July 19 through Wednesday, July 22, more than 6,000 HIV/AIDS experts will be in Vancouver for the 8th annual International AIDS Society (IAS) conference on HIV pathogenesis, treatment and prevention.
The conference, which is the largest HIV/AIDS conference in the world, will be welcomed by UBC and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
The last time it was held in Vancouver was in 1996, when nearly one B.C. resident was dying from AIDS every day – now, with modern antiretroviral drugs and other treatments, life expectancies are nearly on par with non-infected people.
Last year, St. Paul’s Hospital even repurposed their AIDS ward due to a sharp diminish in provincial AIDS cases.
Since 1994, the number of reported HIV cases has dropped by 65%, while the number of AIDS cases have dropped by 88%.
“We are at a turning point and the end of AIDS could happen during my lifetime,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, a professor of Medicine and Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
UNAIDS announced a goal at the last conference that by 2020, 90% of people will be aware of their HIV status, 90% of people living with the disease will be on antiretroviral medication, and 90% of those on medication will have undetectable viral loads.
“The 90-90-90 goals put us on track, but leaders from around the world must invest in treatment for those living with HIV. With the IAS Conference in Vancouver, it is a time to honour the important progress made to date and call to light the need for continued vigilance,” Montaner added.