Dr Julio Montaner, President of the International AIDS Society, visits UNAIDS
25 March 2010
Dr Julio Montaner, the President of the International AIDS Society (IAS), visited the UNAIDS Secretariat in Geneva on 24 March. At the headquarters he met with UNAIDS staff and discussed various topics including the concept of ‘treatment as prevention’’ which has come from his long standing work in Vancouver, Canada.
In an interview with UNAIDS, Dr Montaner, gave an overview of some of the key emerging issues at the upcoming XIII International AIDS Conference, or AIDS 2010, organised by the IAS. The conference will be held in Vienna from 18 to 23 July.
Vienna, according to Dr Montaner, was chosen as the location for AIDS 2010 as it presents an opportunity to put the spotlight on HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe. HIV transmission occurs mainly among the injecting drug user population and their partners in the region, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the only region in the world where the HIV epidemic remains on the rise.
In the Eastern European context, addressing the injecting drug use HIV epidemic is critical. If we neglect the evidence-based prevention programmes that we know work for this community we will not have a chance of containing the epidemic.
Dr Julio Montaner
“In the Eastern European context, addressing the injecting drug use HIV epidemic is critical. If we neglect the evidence-based prevention programmes that we know work for this community we will not have a chance of containing the epidemic,” Dr Montaner said and continued “as the IAS, we want to make it clear that we need drastic measures to deal with the injecting drug use HIV epidemic in Eastern European context as well as the rest of the world.”
Dr Montaner also said that AIDS 2010 will provide a great platform for merging the universal access and Millennium Development Goals movements. “This is a unique opportunity to rally behind universal access to contribute towards a renewed and re-energized commitment to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals.”
Dr Montaner is Professor, Chair in AIDS Research, and Head of the Division of AIDS at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of British Columbia; he is also Director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS at St. Paul's Hospital-Providence Health Care. He has focused his research in the development of antiretroviral therapies and management strategies. In the mid 90s, he played a key role in establishing the efficacy of the antiretroviral therapy (HAART). This was one of the pivotal contributions which emerged from the Vancouver 1996 International AIDS Conference.