A few fascinating facts about the 21st International Aids Conference

15 July 2016 - 21:48 By Katharine Child

Durban is hosting the 21st International Aids Conference‚ marking its return to the city after 16 years.Since those dark days‚ when HIV was denied by South Africa’s leaders‚ great progress has been made in the country and in the world – but much more still needs to be achieved. The conference‚ which starts on Sunday and ends on July 22‚ will tackle these issues‚ but behind these are some interesting details.The conference in numbers183Countries represented2Years spent planning the conference500Sessions and events2 500Scientific and academic presentations6 700were submitted777Speakers54%are women20%are South African1.2%transgender16 300 Followers for the conference’s official twitter campaign18 000Participants1 000Journalists21The 21st International Aids Conference 6 700 were submitted 777: Speakers; 54% are women‚ 20% are South African and 1.2% are transgender 16 300: Followers for the conference’s official twitter campaign @AIDS_conference 18 000: Participants 1 000: Journalists 21: The 21st International Aids ConferenceLesser known factsHeroin addicts will receive harm reduction packs‚ including a free needle exchange (to prevent HIV) and methadone (a drug used in the place of heroin) can be bought at the harm reduction centre.The conference has its own mobile app.Celebs include Queen Latifah and Charlize Theron.Champions include Françoise Barré-Sinoussi‚ Nobel prize winner in Physiology or Medicine who did fundamental work in identifying HIV and Judge Edwin Cameron.Some of The Elders (influential former heads of state) will also be there.The department of state security is vetting all 18 000 attending the conferenceGrannies will dance at the Global Village. Issues faced by people living with HIV will be presented through music‚ dance and drama. Show names include Black Pussy and Morning Rave (even though it starts every day at 12:30 …)Documentaries on HIV from around the world will be shown for five days - all dayPeople from as far away as Pietermaritzburg and Ballito will have free transport to and from the conferenceThe science and socioeconomics of HIVWhy adolescent girls are so much more likely to get HIV in South Africa and from whom; what does it mean to be a teenager with HIV; preventing HIV among teenagers; and bringing sexual pleasure back into sex ed.A whole-day session on towards a cure: how to end HIV for good through science.The latest science: gene editing and using this technique to rid cells of HIV.All the HIV vaccine trials in the world at different stages of progress.Ongoing progress in the trial testing whether there is a link between the progesterone birth control injection (popular among Sub-Saharan women) and HIV.HIV‚ hepatitis and TB in prisoners across the globeNew drugs to treat HIV: What’s coming next ...Growing old with HIV: Are you more likely to get cancer‚ heart disease and brittle bones/fractures from the drugs and the disease?Stigmatised groups such as sex workers‚ drug addicts and gay men and how to help them take preventative therapy.New forms of microcide gels to protect women and new data on these.- TMG Digital/The Times

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