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Major HIV conference underway in Brisbane

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Major HIV conference underway in Brisbane
Thousands of experts in the fight against HIV have gathered at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) this week.

More than 3,000 researchers and other stakeholders are attending the International Aids Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2023).

The international congress is putting a spotlight on Australia’s contribution to ending an epidemic that became one of the world’s most serious health concerns from the 1980s.

Hosting the conference in Australia is seen to be an accelerator for Australia’s ambitions to end local HIV transmission by 2025. Australia’s rate of HIV transmission is already in one of the steepest declines globally.

“Australia is poised to be one of the first, if not the first, country to achieve virtual elimination of HIV,” said IAS International president and director of the Melbourne-headquartered Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Professor Sharon Lewin.

While Lewin was the co-chair of the international AIDS conference that came to Melbourne in 2014, BCEC Advocate, Professor Charles Gilks, led the bid to host the 2023 event in Brisbane and is the conference chair. The bid was supported by ASHM (Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine), BCEC, Queensland Health, Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Australia and Brisbane Economic Development Agency.

BCEC general manager, Kym Guesdon, said the centre had 28 international conventions scheduled to take place in the current financial year.

“BCEC actively collaborates with the scientific and medical community through its highly successful Convention Advocates Partnership,” said Guesdon.

“Our convention advocates, who include many eminent scientists and academics, provide us with a deep understanding of where Brisbane and Australia lead the world in critical ground-breaking scientific research.”

To mark the conference being held in Brisbane, the city’s bridges as well as the convention centre were lit up in red last night, with the colour the international sign of support and awareness for those living with HIV.

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