The 22nd International AIDS Conference: What You Need To Know
The International AIDS Conference is a huge conference that is unique in that it brings together scientists, clinicians, public health professionals, health policy experts, treatment advocates and, importantly affected individuals from all across the globe. It was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands during the last week of July 2018. The conference has traditionally been the setting of activism and protest from the diverse global communities impacted by HIV that often face intense stigma and discrimination, legal issues and barriers in accessing care and treatment.
To put things in perspective, this meeting was also held in Amsterdam 16 years ago. Since that time, the advances we have made have been extraordinary and unprecedented for any medical condition. During this period, we witnessed this disease transformed from a death sentence to a chronic manageable disease, like asthma or diabetes.
Nevertheless, in light of all this progress, more than a million people continue to die from HIV infection every year; more than the entire population of Amsterdam (about 900.000). Not surprisingly, most of these deaths are among blacks in Africa, the Caribbean and the US but also other peoples of color have disproportionately high rates of death.
So what did we learn from the meeting that can help us in our ability to detect, treat and retain HIV patients in care? What can we do better to prevent HIV? And, are we any closer to developing a cure?
U=U. Undetectable= Untransmittable
Let me start by discussing the issue of