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AIDS 2012 Plenary Speakers Call For Innovative Financing, Continued Research For HIV Cure

Speakers at Tuesday’s plenary session at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. highlighted the challenges that lie ahead in the response to HIV/AIDS and discussed potential solutions, ABC News reports (Duwell, 7/25). Bernhard Schwartlander, director for evidence, strategy and results at UNAIDS, “highlighted the many new possibilities for collaboration, activism, and financing for the AIDS response as economic growth is rapidly changing the global order,” UNAIDS reports in a feature story (7/24). “A lot of very clever and dedicated people are working very hard in making sure that services are delivered more efficiently, and … more people receive HIV services with the same amount of money,” he said at the session, PlusNews writes (7/25). According to UNAIDS, Schwartlander “outlined a number of innovative financing methods … such as the financial transaction tax; front-loading investments for health through bonds; or utilizing fines paid by pharmaceutical companies for anti-competitive practices for health assistance” (7/24).

Also speaking at the plenary session on Tuesday, Javier Martinez-Picado with Spain’s IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute discussed the possibility of finding a cure for AIDS, saying “that even though he does not expect a cure anytime soon, researchers see hope for one,” VOA News notes. “Yet, Martinez-Picado said he foresees several more years of laboratory research to advance basic science knowledge before considering clinical trials,” ABC News writes. U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh opened the session with a speech about the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (.pdf) (7/25).