Over the past 35 years HIV infection has been of the most serious global public health challenges. The majority of world leaders recognize that no country has beaten the epidemic and that they cannot afford to withdraw from HIV response measures.
During the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2015, member countries unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which included a paragraph on halting the spread of HIV by 2030.
At the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on HIV/AIDS (June 8, 2016) UN member states approved a plan for intensifying efforts aimed at significantly slowing down, even halting, the epidemic by 2030 (“Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: On the Fast-Track to Accelerate the Fight against HIV and to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2030″). The emphasis of this plan was the dramatic scaling up efforts towards universal access to treatment and prevention programs.
In order to address the HIV/AIDS crisis, the global community, and the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in particular, need to intensify their efforts in response to the epidemic.
The situation with HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia is changing rapidly in regards to the epidemiological characteristics of the spread of new infections, social and economic factors, including the increase in access to healthcare and antiretroviral therapy (ART) and high mobility of labor, as well as new scientific data, and the related development of laboratory networks and the pharmaceutical industry
Successful distribution of and widespread access to ART has significantly modified the prognosis of the HIV epidemic in the region. For instance, the development of the pharmaceutical industry in the region has led to a massive emergence of high-quality generic drugs. This greatly increases access to ART and introduces the possibility of reaching all the patients requiring treatment.
On a related note, increased life expectancy of patients is presenting new challenges for the region’s healthcare systems. International cooperation and collaboration among the countries at global and regional levels is certainly an integral part of the HIV response.
However, at the same time, HIV and other socially significant infections (viral hepatitis, tuberculosis) continue to threaten the stability of regional development.
It should be noted that the region has prioritized strengthening epidemiological monitoring and significantly reducing the growth of the HIV epidemic as a threat to public health by 2030.
Mobilization of all resources, such as results of recent scientific research in the field of treatment as prevention, workforce and laboratory capacity, financial investments, and civil society potential will contribute to the progress in HIV response and achievement of ambitious intermediate targets for 2020 on the regional level:
Since 2006, the purpose of the International Eastern Europe and Central Asia AIDS Conference has been to make a significant contribution to the development of measures to combat the spread of HIV in the region.
The objective of the Conference is to develop regional guidelines that contain systemic cross-sectoral approaches to solving the problem of HIV/AIDS on national, regional and global levels.
The implementation of these recommendations will facilitate the adaptation of national policies and improve the effectiveness of national HIV prevention programs, while taking into account the regional context and local specific features of the epidemic.
The main goals of the Conference focus around discussing the measures for eliminating HIV infection and other socially significant diseases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, presenting high-performance programs and exchanging experience among scientists, experts, policy makers, healthcare professionals and public figures in relation to the best HIV response strategies.
The main features of the VI International Eastern Europe and Central Asia AIDS Conference include:
The planned duration of the Conference is three (3) days. The Conference program will consist of plenary sessions, parallel sessions, skills development workshops, and open discussion forums.
The conference program is developed and approved by the Organizing and Program Committees, entitled: “Science and Medicine,” “International Development Assistance,” “Civil Society,” and “Effective Prevention.” The program covers the most important areas related to HIV infection in order to give the delegates new knowledge and capabilities. Conference delegates will be able to discuss important topics, share experiences and establish new contacts with potential partners.
Topics of scientific parallel sessions and workshops will be formed based on the abstracts submitted by participants through the official website of the Conference. These abstracts will be evaluated by scientific experts in the field of HIV/AIDS and related areas. The conference program will include speakers invited by the Organizing and Program Committees.
The Conference will devote particular attention to: the latest scientific discoveries and their introduction into public health practice, the interconnection between science and medicine, conduct of operational research, training and raising the qualifications of healthcare professionals in accordance with the latest scientific and medical advancements.
Parallel sessions designated by the members of “International Development Assistance” Program Committee will focus on regional and international cooperation and demonstration of projects in the field of HIV/AIDS.
Sessions formed by the members of the “Effective Prevention” Program Committee will highlight various aspects of prevention of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Representatives of public healthcare, education, science, culture, sports, media, religious, social and youth organizations will be involved in the work of the Committee.
“Civil Society” sessions are formed through a transparent electoral process with the active participation of civil society community members. These sessions are complemented by a series of training seminars.
Scientists, healthcare experts, and representatives of civil society will be invited separately to participate in plenary and parallel sessions, as well as to take part in a wide range of Conference activities, such as presentations, panel discussions, and round tables.
Based on the successful experience of the Fifth Conference, the Advisory Council will continue its work. The Council will be comprised of the representatives of socially responsible businesses including pharmaceutical companies and major employers, Eastern Europe and Central Asia trade unions. The main goal of the Advisory Council is to propose thematic lectures, presentations and other events for inclusion in the Conference program. The proposals will also touch upon the topics of public-private partnership development, improving working conditions and infectious safety measures for healthcare workers in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
EECAAC 2018 will contain unique “special format” events on up-to-date topics including:
Issues of pharmaceutical market development, localization of drug production and use of other mechanisms to increase treatment coverage of HIV and co-infections will be discussed at the Conference within the framework of special sessions that will bring together experts on healthcare, pharmaceutical market regulation, intellectual property and patent rights.
The impact of sports and their role in HIV prevention became a new focus of the Fifth Eastern Europe and Central Asia AIDS Conference. In order to preserve the continuity, the topic “HIV and Sport” will be highlighted at EECAAC-2018. This will help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS among the general population, athletes and sports fans and prevent discrimination against people living with HIV.
Conference participants will create the Final statement of the Conference in the form of recommendations as an expression of commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goals on HIV/AIDS in the EECA region,
In order to prepare the Recommendations of the VI Conference, an Editorial Committee will be established. This committee will be composed of representatives of the Organizing and Program Committees, as well as members of the official delegations from participating countries. The Editorial Committee’s procedures will be determined by a separate provision.
The Conference program will consist of the following activities:
Each day of the Conference begins with a plenary session. Plenary session speakers are known regional and international policy makers, scientists, experts in the field of HIV, and civil society representatives.
Parallel session topics consist of three blocks:
These sessions are designed for a small number of participants. They aim at providing the delegates with new knowledge and skills for further use in their professional activities. Topics and seminar speakers will be determined based on the input of the participants submitted via the Conference website.
Commercial and non-commercial satellite events on the prevention of HIV infection and comorbidities will be held every day after the main program. Government agencies, research institutes, commercial companies and NGOs may act as satellite event organizers.
The conference provides commercial and non-profit organizations the opportunity to present their materials, programs and services to the professional community.
Discussion platforms are designed for a comprehensive exchange of views among the participants, discussion of problems from different perspectives, informal dialogue and multilateral communication of civil society, government officials and scientists.
The conference expects to bring together 3000 participants from 100 countries including all countries of the in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, SCO, BRICS and others. Scientists, healthcare professionals, policy makers, experts in the field of international development assistance, representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, politicians, opinion leaders and civil society representatives will take part in the event.
The scholarship program is designed for the participants from Eastern Europe and Central Asia who:
Participants may be granted a full scholarship that covers the registration fee, travel expenses, accommodation, or a partial scholarship covering one or two of the aforementioned costs.
Scholarships will be awarded in accordance with the criteria approved by the Organizing Committee. The Scholarship Committee, consisting of representatives of the three Conference Program Committees will choose the candidates for the scholarship.
Scholarship applications will be accepted through the official website of the Conference.
The Russian Government recognizes the importance of national HIV/AIDS response and considers EECAAC 2018 a unique opportunity to coordinate the efforts of the countries in combating the epidemic through the discussion and development of new approaches in prevention and treatment.
All delegates will be provided with comprehensive organizational support and assistance.
Hope to see you in beautiful Moscow in 2018!