9th ICAAP gets underway in Bali

Nusa Dua, 9 Aug 2009 - More  than 3,000 delegates from 65 countries have come to Bali to participate in the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacifc (ICAAP), the biggest biennial meeting and second largest forum on HIV and AIDS in the world today.

Held from Aug. 9 to 13, 2009 in Nusa Dua, the 9th ICAAP aims to ignite new efforts, bonds and sanctions in the international response to AIDS, with stakeholders coming from across Asia and the Pacifc as well as Europe, the Americas and Africa. The congress is joined by health care professionals, public policy leaders, community advocates, activists, researchers and journalists who may also be people living with HIV.

Carrying the theme “Empowering People, Strengthening Networks”, it sees Asia and the Pacifc as a region of a considerable cultural, religious, social and political diversity, yet with several common problems and solutions that can be found by sharing information and experience among people and networks.

“The number of people living with HIV in Asia and the Pacifc is currently around 5.4 million, as compared to 22 million in Africa,” said Congress Chair Prof Dr Zubairi Djoerban. “The main context of the congress lies in how we can implement new developments in response to AIDS in developing countries with limited resources and access to treatment, care and support,” Zubairi continued.

Another key factor in the universal response to AIDS would be the heightened role of the community, which has prompted a variety of community forums – joined by people living with HIV, migrants, sex workers, youth, and others – arranged in the two days leading up to the congress.

The 9th ICAAP is scheduled to be offcially opened on the evening of Aug. 9 (today) by Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Jimbaran, Bali. For the next four days of the congress, each day will begin with a plenary address followed by sets of symposia, oral abstract sessions, skills building workshops and satellite meetings held in and around the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) in Nusa Dua.

Among the 9th ICAAP’s objectives is to share expertise and knowledge on key issues and treatments critical to the control of HIV and AIDS in the region. It also aims to help accelerate the scale-up of HIV prevention, care and treatment services and integrate a comprehensive AIDS response in existing health systems, and advance strategies to free people infected with, affected by and vulnerable to HIV from stigmatization, marginalization and discrimination.

Realizing that AIDS has developed into a lot more than just a health issue, organizers have managed to include relevant human development, medical, social, political, religious, economic, management, human relations and communications issues by dividing them into four main “tracks” for easier identifcation.

The frst track (Track A) deals with the understanding of the epidemic and the strengthening of prevention efforts against it. The second track (Track B) concerns strengthening partnership for treatment, care and support and improving quality through broadening partnership in all aspects of service. The third track (Track C) puts HIV and AIDS in context by understanding and addressing its socio-cultural, economic and political determinants. Last but not least is the fourth track (Track D), which focuses on leadership and broadening the response from the community.

Other programs at the congress include an AIDS Ambassadors’ Meeting (co-hosted by Indonesian AIDS Ambassador First Lady Ani Bambang Yudhoyono and Australian AIDS Ambassador Murray Proctor), and a number of feld trips to local organizations offering HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

As reported by Andrea Tedjokusumo, the 9th ICAAP Post
The complete 9th ICAAP Post can be downloaded from the Virtual Media Centre section in this website

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before the event
9 - 13 August 2009
Bali Convention Centre
Bali, Indonesia
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