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IAS 2017: IAS Conference on HIV Science Starts Sunday in Paris


The 9th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science will take place July 23-26 at the Palais des Congrèsin Paris. and aidsmap will be providing joint on-site coverage next week. Follow breaking news via @HIVandHeptitis on Twitter. IAS will be webcasting plenary sessions and daily press conferences.

The IAS meeting, which alternates with the International AIDS Conference every other summer, brings together researchers, front-line providers, public health workers, advocates, and people living with HIV to hear the latest news on HIV treatment, prevention, and access to care.

Formerly known as the IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, the meeting previously expanded its purview to include biomedical HIV prevention, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The new name this year reflects a broader emphasis on all aspects of HIV science, including HIV cure research and associated conditions such as viral hepatitis and tuberculosis.

News highlights will include updates from the PROUD and Ipergay PrEP studies, long-acting drugs for both HIV treatment and prevention, HIV vaccine research, and research on global implementation and access to the latest advances in the field.

On July 20, UNAIDS released a new report showing that 36.7 million people worldwide are living with HIV and 19.5 million are taking antiretroviral therapy -- the first time for than half are on treatment.

"We met the 2015 target of 15 million people on treatment and we are on track to double that number to 30 million and meet the 2020 target," said UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé. We will continue to scale up to reach everyone in need and honour our commitment of leaving no one behind.”

In another change this year, the IAS HIV cure symposium held before the main conference has also expanded its focus, and will now look at the synergies between HIV remission and cancer research, as both fields explore intersecting approaches to immune-based therapy.

"The potential of emerging synergies in HIV and cancer therapies is generating new excitement and interest in both fields," said IAS HIV Cure and Cancer Forum co-chair Sharon Lewin of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia. "The availability of several recent advances in cancer treatment for people living with HIV provides opportunities to understand whether these treatments can help eliminate the virus, in addition to the cancer. Gene therapy approaches now being used to treat cancer are also being studied to see whether they can help make cells resistant to HIV."

Also in advance of the meeting, IAS released the Paris Statement, emphasizing the importance of HIV science and the need for adequate resources, at a time when funding is threatened.

"We cannot achieve ambitious global goals, provide life-long treatment to the 37 million people living with HIV and reduce the epidemic without an unfaltering commitment to research," the statement reads in part. "Multi-disciplinary approaches and research programs adapted to a range of social and cultural contexts must be allowed to flourish; participatory and community-based research must be strengthened; and the meaningful involvement of key populations and people living with HIV in shaping research priorities must remain an unwavering principle."



International Conference on HIV Science.

HIV Cure and Cancer Forum.

UNAIDS. The scales have tipped -- UNIADS announces 19.5 million people on life-saving treatment and AIDS-related deaths halved since 2005. Press release. July 20, 2017.