Sir Bob Geldof Says the 'Last Mile' of the HIV Epidemic Must be Funded
MELBOURNE, Australia, July 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Sir Bob Geldof told delegates at AIDS 2014, the 20th International AIDS Conference, that the "preposterous reluctance" of governments to fund HIV programs in developing countries is "disgraceful", especially as the journey to the end of the HIV epidemic is "in the last mile".
The renowned anti-poverty campaigner made the comments at the conference in Melbourne today as he reflected on the impact of HIV on developing nations.
Geldof said that the HIV epidemic in low income countries is "inextricably linked" to poverty, and he strongly criticized wealthy nations for reneging on foreign aid commitments.
The theme of the conference today (Thursday 24 July) was 'making the long term short term', and activities began with plenary presentations about fast-tracking the global HIV response.
The escalating HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia was explored in a special session featuring representatives from Russia, Lithuania and Moldova. The panel considered the regions intersecting epidemics of HIV, injecting drug use, hepatitis C and tuberculosis, as well as solutions to issues such as poor access to treatment and the marginalisation and criminalisation of men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.
Morning's sessions included a discussion on the worrying trends of HIV transmission and co-infection in prisons; how cultural and political environments are impacting on the health outcomes of indigenous populations throughout the world; and strategies for making workplaces more inclusive and supportive of people with HIV.
Sessions in the afternoon explored a range of subjects such as: the challenges of being transgender in Asia and the Pacific; cultural sensitivity training for sexual health workers in Islamic countries; and how sacred texts can be used to talk effectively about sexuality and diversity.
The Global Village, the conference's international showcase of community related HIV programmes and activities, welcomed Geldof to the village, and showed him around the wide range of events including theatrical and dance performances, fashion shows, film screenings and music recitals, as well as discussions on a variety of issues.
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Photo gallery for day 4 can be found at: http://aids2014.smugmug.com/Thursday-24-July-2014
Caption: Sir Bob Geldof with AIDS 2014Local Co-chair Sharon Lewin - promoting the AIDS 2014 Melbourne Declaration - Nobody Left Behind
Photo credit: International AIDS Society/Steve Forrest
SOURCE: International AIDS Society