International AIDS Society

Conference Theme and Objectives

Stepping up the Pace – Theme of AIDS 2014

The HIV and AIDS field has seen renewed optimism over the past few years with substantial gains made in cure and vaccine research, growing numbers of people receiving antiretroviral treatment, falling rates of infection and more evidence on Treatment as Prevention. However, this progress has not been universal with many regions struggling to address their HIV epidemic among a backdrop of ever increasing infections and difficulties in funding, implementation and political challenges.

Stepping up the Pace recognizes that we are at a critical time and we need to capture the optimism that has recently emerged and build on it to ensure that HIV remains on top of the global agenda. The pace needs to further increase to ultimately reverse the trajectory of the epidemic.

Stepping up the Pace reminds us that we have to energize and revitalize our efforts to increase investments, collaborative research and political commitment. This can be done through controlled and coordinated action, including significant programme scale-up in resource-limited settings, commitment to evidence-based interventions, and more effective and intensive interventions in “hotspots” where Key Affected Populations (KAPs) are being left behind. Crucially there is the need to involve KAPs and address the stigma and discrimination which they face, including punitive government policies.

Stepping up the Pace reflects the crucial opportunity that AIDS 2014 will provide for mobilizing stakeholders, joining forces and building on the present momentum necessary to change the course of the epidemic.

AIDS 2014 Conference Objectives
  1. To engage, inspire, innovate and advocate – in partnership with affected communities, government, scientists, clinicians and all stakeholders – working towards the end of AIDS through prevention measures and comprehensive care and treatment for all.
  2. To broaden the understanding that the same barriers that have fuelled the epidemic over the past 30 years still exist today and need to be broken down including stigma, discrimination and repressive policies, attitudes and practices. These impede the application of scientifically proven prevention and treatment options and violate the human rights of those affected.
  3. To raise awareness that progress in responding to the AIDS epidemic is being achieved at different speeds: in many countries – both developed and developing – the HIV response has made great advances while in many others, new infections continue to rise due to funding, structural, policy and political challenges.
  4. To put focus on global HIV epidemic hotspots and scale up efforts within Key Affected Populations (including men who have sex with men, sex workers, people living with HIV, transgender, and people who use drugs). It is clear that many people are still being ‘left behind’ in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Solutions require partnerships with people living with HIV and disproportionately affected populations.
  5. To acknowledge the pivotal role the HIV response has played in transforming global health over the past three decades and to build upon this momentum by: increasing funding for innovative HIV scientific research and programmes; involving a new generation of young scientists, community leaders, politicians and advocates; involving the cross fertilization of experience and expertise from other disciplines.
  6. To assist in fostering the current debate around a post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) scenario for HIV and AIDS, including the cross cutting issues of criminalization, gender based violence, sexual health rights and stigma and discrimination. Ensuring that HIV and AIDS remains a key focus of international development.