International AIDS Society marks 20 years

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Feature story

International AIDS Society marks 20 years

06 August 2008

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The International AIDS Society held a
special event during the XVII International
AIDS Conference to celebrate its 20th
anniversary.
Credit: UNAIDS/agencialibrefoto

In 1981 the first cases of unusual immune system failures were identified among gay men, women and injecting drug users. Some seven years later a group of prominent scientists from around the world came together to found the International AIDS Society (IAS) – an organisation which would organise international conferences on AIDS bringing together scientists, activists, researchers, people living with HIV and others working on AIDS issues to share knowledge and experiences in responding to the epidemic.

Since this time the IAS has convened the world’s largest meetings on HIV which are now held every two years.

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the IAS and to commemorate the last 20 years, the IAS held a special event during the XVII International AIDS Conference which is taking place in Mexico from 3-8 August 2008.

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Dr Pedro Cahn, IAS President and
Co-Chair of the XVII International AIDS
Conference (left) and former IAS President
and UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Eastern
Europe and Central Asia Professor Lars O.
Kallings.
Credit: UNAIDS/agencialibrefoto

The event brought together a number of past IAS Presidents, including Dr Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director and Founding President of the IAS, and UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Professor Lars O. Kallings.

Professor Kallings spoke about the IAS in the early years of the epidemic and Dr Piot looked to the future and spoke of the long term response to the epidemic. Kate Thomson, Chief of Civil Society Partnerships at UNAIDS gave a history of the involvement of people living with HIV in both the International AIDS Conference and the response to the epidemic