11th European AIDS Conference opens in Madrid
24 October 2007
The 11th European AIDS Conference runs from 24-27 October in Madrid, Spain. The conference, held every other year and attended by several thousand delegates, focuses on issues related to HIV clinical research and care in Europe.
In a special session titled “What’s New in HIV Prevention”, UNAIDS Chief Scientific Advisor Catherine Hankins will address the conference on Friday 26 with a presentation about ethical issues related to research into biomedical HIV prevention methods, which include pre-exposure prophylaxis (the use of HIV medicines to prevent infection), male circumcision and microbicides. Dr. Hankins’ presentation will emphasize the ethical considerations facing stakeholders in HIV prevention trials – communities, researchers, sponsors and trial participants – as treatment and prevention standards evolve.
UNAIDS has been a leader in developing and updating standards for international HIV prevention trials. UNAIDS, in partnership with the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, recently released best practices for conducting HIV prevention research, outlining core principles for ethical HIV prevention research. UNAIDS and the World Health Organization also this year released guidance on ethical considerations on HIV prevention trials. Among other things, the document calls for studies to be designed in such a way that, should new HIV prevention methods be proven effective while other trials are ongoing, stakeholders in the ongoing trial can negotiate whether or not to introduce the new intervention, which could affect the trial’s outcome.
“This conference gives us an opportunity to share with Europe’s HIV specialists crucial information about updated guidance on the ethical conduct of biomedical HIV prevention trials,” said Dr. Hankins. “Access to treatment and standards of prevention are evolving, and all stakeholders need to know how to ensure that trials of novel HIV prevention methods are carried out to the highest ethical standards."
Other sessions will focus on topics such as the impact and complications of HIV treatment, issues facing older patients, Hepatitis co-infection, HIV drug resistance and implementation of the European HIV treatment guidelines. A number of pharmaceutical research and development companies who are sponsoring the conference will conduct satellite symposia throughout the event to discuss their companies’ treatment advances.
The conference is organized by the European AIDS Clinical Society, which published the first common European treatment guidelines in 2001 in recognition of the need for standard treatment protocols across the continent. The guidelines were updated in 2005, and another update will be made available on the final day of the Madrid conference.
Previous conferences have been held in cities across Europe since 1989, most recently taking place in Dublin in 2005. The 12th European AIDS Conference is planned for Cologne, Germany in November 2009.
Visit the 11th European AIDS Conference / EACS website
Visit the European AIDS Clinical Society website