Professor Sharon Lewin addresses AIDS 2012

Tracy Parish

30 July, 2012

Professor Sharon Lewin addressing the Closing Session at AIDS 2012. © IAS/Ryan Rayburn -

Professor Sharon Lewin addressed delegates during the Closing Session of the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington.

In two years time she will co-chair the AIDS 2014 Conference in Melbourne with Nobel Laureate, Professor Francoise Barre-Sinoussi.

Listen to Sharon’s interview about the hope for the future and the quest to achieve the united goal of an end to AIDS.

Here is an excerpt of her speech to the delegates.

“As the local co-chair of the 20th International AIDS conference to be held in Melbourne in 2014, I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you all to Melbourne and Australia,“ Professor Lewin said.

“It’s been a landmark AIDS conference and Washington will be a very hard act to follow.

“Together with my wonderful co-chair Francoise Barre-Sinoussi we are ready and up for the challenge.

“I would like to thank the Federal Government of Australia, the State Government of Victoria and the City of Melbourne for their financial commitment in supporting AIDS 2014 in Melbourne and their ongoing leadership locally and globally in the fight against AIDS.

“I am particularly pleased to share the stage today with the Honourable Tanya Plibersek, Federal Minister for Health and the Honourable David Davis, the Victorian State Minister for Health and Ageing.

“During this week we have seen in the United States how all sides of politics continue to come together to support a highly effective US and international response to AIDS.

“Tanya Plibersek and David Davis come from different political parties but I am proud to say that over three decades of AIDS in Australia, and now, the parties that they represent have agreed on and supported an evidence-based policies on HIV/AIDS, care, treatment, research and prevention.

“Bold and decisive bi-partisan leadership towards the onset of the epidemic meant that Australia has very low levels of HIV infection in the general population.

“We have an enduring model of partnership between all communities affected by HIV, researchers, clinicians and the Federal, State and Territorial governments of Australia.

“We are proud of this, but our AIDS-response is not perfect and there is much to be done.

“Men who have sex with men still remain disproportionately affected and the rate of new infections in Australia has not declined now for over 10 years. Our indigenous communities remain at risk.

“As a global community none of us can be complacent whether we live in a high or low income community. Every one of us from every country must get to the three zeros – zero new infections, zero deaths and zero discrimination.

“I want to throw out a challenge to all countries to help make AIDS 2014 the conference at which all countries, led by my own, proudly report that they had kept their promises made under the 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and are making major strides towards the AIDS-free generation that we are all fighting for.

“AIDS 2014 will be a regional conference with a strong focus on the Asia-Pacific region. There are 4.2 million people living with HIV in Asia and 53,000 in the Pacific.

“The overall trends in this region hide important differences between and within countries. There are some outstanding success stories in access to treatment, harm reduction and reduction in stigma and discrimination but unfortunately this is not uniform throughout the region.

“AIDS 2014 will provide a program that recognises the diversity of the epidemic across regions, within regions and within countries.

“ All infected communities, including people involved in sex work, people who inject drugs, everyone will be welcome to come to Australia and join us in Melbourne.

“As a scientist and a clinician I remain passionate about what science has done and what is still can and must do. We can’t stop now.

“As much as ever we need a cure, we need a vaccine, and if we really want to see an end to HIV/AIDS we must continue to invest in all aspects of research.

“I very much hope that AIDS 2014 will be the time that we indeed see that ‘the tide has turned’ and we are well on the way to achieving our united goal of an end to AIDS.”


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Tracy Parish

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