"Empowering People, Strengthening Networks" — 9th ICAAP opens

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"Empowering People, Strengthening Networks" — 9th ICAAP opens

09 August 2009

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The President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Hj. Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) officially opened the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), which takes place in Bali, Indonesia from 9-13 August. Credit: UNAIDS/Donang Wahyu

The President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Hj. Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has officially opened the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), which this year takes place in Bali, Indonesia from 9-13 August under the theme “Empowering people, strengthening networks”.

At the opening ceremony, Mr JVR Prasada Rao, Director, UNAIDS Regional Support Team, Asia and the Pacific, has delivered a speech on behalf of UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé calling for the establishment of enabling environments and supportive social norms necessary to deliver a future generation free of HIV.

The Congress has drawn thousands of people together for five days of discussion around the AIDS response in the Pacific and across Asia. Together they will discuss a wide range of issues and contexts for the AIDS epidemic in these regions including mobility and migration, injecting drug use, human rights as well as gender.

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Mr JVR Prasada Rao, Director, UNAIDS Regional Support Team, Asia and the Pacific delivered a speech during the opening ceremony on behalf of UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé. Credit: UNAIDS/Donang Wahyu

According to Mr Rao “There will be evidence-based discussion on whether Universal Access can be an achievable goal by 2010 for many countries in Asia and the Pacific. Every facet of the epidemic and the region’s responses are featured in the wide array of session and activities.”

Mr Rao continued, “What is really impressive is that the conference will showcase the immense progress made by community groups, working together and in partnership with government and other partners, in spearheading the response in many countries in the Asia Pacific region.”

Congress Programme

The event, which takes place every two years, is broad in scope as it includes 24 symposia, 32 skills-building workshops, and 75 satellite meetings. Some 349 abstracts have been accepted by the programme committee for 64 sessions of oral presentations, and 1932 abstracts accepted for poster presentations.

The other main goals of the event are to empower individuals and strengthen networks in the regions to effectively respond to AIDS.

Young people and women

The Bali Youth Force (BYF), a coalition of youth networks and organizations that has collective representation in all Asia & Pacific countries, encouraged significant youth participation in the 9th ICAAP.

UNAIDS Secretariat and its Cosponsors will participate and lead a wide number of events including the launch of a new report, HIV Transmission in Intimate Partner Relationships in Asia, that highlights the increased risk of HIV infection by women engaged in long-term relationships.

HIV epidemic in Asia and Pacific

According to the Independent Commission on AIDS in Asia (2008), AIDS remains the most likely cause of death and loss of work days among people aged 15 to 44.

An estimated 5 million people in Asia were living with HIV in 2007 according to 2008 report on the global AIDS epidemic. The several modes of HIV transmission present in the region, via sex work, injecting drug use, and unprotected sex between men; make Asia’s epidemic one of the most diverse in the world. The Pacific region’s epidemics are relatively small with an estimated 74 000 people living with HIV across Oceania in 2007.