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Five-Day Congress On AIDS In Asia-Pacific Concludes

“The five-day International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Bali concluded Thursday with country participants agreeing to strengthen their partnership and hear more voices of the affected communities,” the Jakarta Post reports. According to the newspaper, an estimated 4,000 delegates from 78 countries attended the meeting.

The participation of “groups representing key HIV-affected communities [who] took part in the five-day congress, including the networks of people living with HIV, sex workers, transgenders, men having sex with men, and people who use [IV] drugs” represented a big change from previous years, according to Dewa Nyoman Wirawan, co-chairman of the ICAAP steering committee. “Empowering people means that the affected communities do not only regain but also have ownership of their voices,” Professor Irwanto, the head of the 9th ICAAP Scientific Committee, said during the closing ceremony of the Congress Thursday. “It is important therefore to fully and constructively address any social, cultural and legal barriers preventing their meaningful participation.”

According to the Jakarta Post, other major goals from the conference include improving early detection of HIV in patients and ensuring “the accessibility and sustainability of antiretroviral treatment. The congress also recommends the need for good governance and leaderships to reach universal access for HIV/AIDS patients’ treatment, where countries in the region are told to scale up their intervention by mobilizing their internal resources and ‘reducing dependencies on external donors’” (Maulia, 8/14).