Next week, Vancouver welcomes the 8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention to the Vancouver Convention Centre. According to the conference website, this biennial forum is expected to receive about 6,000 delegates from a wide range of HIV/AIDS disciplines around the world.
Organized by the International AIDS Society (IAS), the conference is also a partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC) Division of AIDS, which works out of St. Paul’s, Providence Health Care’s downtown hospital.
In addition to learning through seminars and keynote presentations (find the full program here), delegates will have the opportunity to experience first-hand part of the continuum of care that Vancouver offers people with addiction and mental illness, as well as HIV. Conference attendees can sign up for an engagement tour of Insite, North America’s first legal supervised drug injection site, to learn about the city’s outreach to marginalized members of our community.
As treatment for HIV has evolved, the Vancouver community has grown to cope with the disease. A greater understanding of the disease has enabled movement from emergency response toward prompt retroviral therapy and preventative strategies.
The following list is just a snapshot of support offered:
- In 1983, AIDS Vancouver started when there were only six recorded cases in the city, recognizing the need for practical advice, support and education. Today it still offers nutritional support, community initiatives, helplines, free testing services and much more.
- In 1990, CBC aired Peter’s Diaries, short segments on life with AIDS shared by a young medical doctor in the city. Just before his death he started the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, which continues to provide support, medical services and advocacy for patients with HIV to this day.
- In 2003, Insite opened its doors, providing a safe injection site to drug users with on-site health management and access to community resources. Despite calls for its closure, the facility has expanded to offer detox and housing to clients in a safe and welcoming environment. Its success is well recognized.
- In 2004, the Vancouver AIDS Memorial Society installed a memorial facing Sunset Beach in Vancouver’s West End.
If you’d like to learn more, check out the 30th anniversary project from AIDS Vancouver, presenting a series of videos recording the dynamic history of HIV in Vancouver.
The 8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2015)
Vancouver Convention Centre, July 19–22, 2015