Time to Deliver: Changes Expected at 2006 International AIDS Conference
February 2006 —“Time to Deliver” has been selected as the theme for the upcoming XVI International AIDS Conference, which will be held in Toronto, 13-18 August 2006.
“So many commitments seem to be made all over the place, including the International AIDS Conference,” said Craig McClure, executive director of the International AIDS Society (IAS), the custodian of the conference. “People want to know what happened after those commitments were made; otherwise they’re just empty promises. It’ll be the first time that we do that in Toronto—look back and review what’s happened. This is really the time to deliver on those commitments.”
With almost 20,000 participants, the 2004 International AIDS Conference in Bangkok was the largest ever held. Toronto is expected to be even bigger. Several significant changes will be implemented in 2006. “Coming out of Bangkok, we realized that it had grown from a small scientific meeting to this major mega-meeting,” said McClure. “The IAS has also realized that the international conference needs to be more than just a five-day event. It needs to be part of a cycle of learning, sharing best practices, and networking.”
McClure indicated that IAS has been in contact with regional organizing groups in order to tie what happens in Toronto into other meetings, such as the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP). “The idea would be for these regional and international meetings to connect much more closely to one another,” he said, “so that what’s learned at one connects back to the next and feeds a process of learning.”
The Toronto conference will include other changes as well. McClure noted that the structure of the meeting will focus more on generating greater dialogue and “productive debate” between speakers, providing professionally moderated sessions, and “reinvigorating the importance of science in the overall response to the epidemic….We’re also working on attracting more young researchers from developed and developing countries with the intention of exposing them to the full face of HIV and AIDS.”
Additional information on the conference is available at www.aids2006.org.