Press Release

The XVI International AIDS Conference, Toronto

10 August 2006
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York—As the world marks 25 years of AIDS, representatives from international agencies, non-governmental organizations and the scientific community will gather in Toronto to review progress made since the epidemic began to unfold in the early 1980s. [visit Conference web site]

During the conference, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, will highlight the increased feminization of HIV/AIDS, especially among the young. In parts of the world, 76 per cent of young people (aged 15 to 24) living with HIV are female. Seventy-six per cent of all HIV-positive women live in sub-Saharan Africa, 51 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean are women, while in Asia, the rate of female infection continues to climb and is now at 30 per cent. Millions of pregnant women are unable to protect their babies from infection because they lack access to much-needed antiretroviral therapy.

UNFPA will participate in a series of panels and satellite sessions to highlight evidence-informed interventions that work, but remain out of reach for millions of women and young people living in the poorest and most at-risk countries. The Fund will also take part in events that call attention to the need to link HIV/AIDS prevention to sexual and reproductive health, commodity security, prevention of mother-to-child-transmission, vulnerable groups and young people. Among ‘must-see’ events is a satellite session to explore the potential role of the HPV vaccine in HIV prevention among previously hard-to-reach populations—including adolescent girls and their mothers. A youth ‘pre-conference’ will kick off the main Toronto Conference.

Thursday, 10 August

WHAT: Youth Pre-conference.

WHO: Two hundred and fifty young people from around the world will convene for a series of panels, satellite sessions and discussions on their concerns at the Conference.

WHEN: 9 a.m. all day

WHERE: Faculty of Medicine, 1 King’s College Circle, University of Toronto.

Friday, 11 August

WHAT: Chasing the Dream: A Gala opening will celebrate the resilience, ingenuity and hopes of young people.

WHO: Speakers will include acclaimed medical journalist, Laurie Garrett, the only author ever to win all three of journalism’s Big "Ps": The Peabody, The Polk and The Pulitzer (twice). Ms. Garrett is also the best-selling author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance and Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health.

Entertainment will be provided by the Montreal-based band, ‘The Stills’, and ‘The Positive Voice Theatre’ Troupe, a community-based non-profit organization led by, and for, women living with HIV/AIDS. Other speakers will include Steven Kraus, Chief of UNFPA’s HIV/AIDS Branch; and Jason Richards, one of the young people profiled in the exhibit.

WHEN: 8-10 p.m.

WHERE: The Great Hall, Hart House, University of Toronto.

WEBSITE: www.chasingdream.org

Saturday, 12 August

WHAT: Youth Force Kick-off Rally.

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Olympic Spirit, Toronto, 34 Dundas Street East.

Sunday, 13 August

WHAT: The Potential of HPV Vaccines to Improve HIV Prevention among Young Girls and Women. A satellite session, exploring the impact of the anticipated roll-out of the HPV vaccine will have on HIV awareness and prevention among previously hard-to-reach populations—specifically pre-adolescent girls and their mothers. The HPV vaccine is the first biological method specifically developed to prevent a sexuallytransmitted infection.

WHO: Arletty Pinel, Chief, UNFPA’s Reproductive Health Branch, will address the session.

WHEN: 2:45-4:45 p.m.

WHERE: Skills Building, Room 9.

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WHAT: High-level Session: Time to Deliver for Women and Girls. The meeting will get to the bottom of why HIV infection rates continue to skyrocket among women and girls. It will also explore evidence-based interventions, obstacles and opportunities.

WHO: Mari Simonen, UNFPA Deputy Executive Director, will speak at the session.

WHEN: 2:30-4 p.m.

WHERE: The Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Monday, 14 August

WHAT: Empowering Young Women to Lead Change. Launch of joint a UNFPA/YWCA Training Manual, which aims to show those working with young women how to empower them to become community leaders and activists.

WHEN: 10.15-10.45 a.m.

WHERE: Conference Room 1.

Tuesday, 15 August

WHAT: Steady, Ready, Go. The results of an extensive UNFPA/WHO/UNICEF/UNAIDS study that shows the types of mass media, education and community-based projects that can help young people avoid high-risk situations.

WHO: Speakers will include UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Ms. Simonen; Stephen Lewis, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa; and Joy Phumaphi, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization.

WHEN: 6-8 p.m.

WHERE: Session Room 2.

Wednesday, 16 August

WHAT: Revising the ABC to Meet the Demands of Today’s Epidemic. “Two steps forward, one step back”. Panellists will explore the limitations of traditional ABC approaches and discuss how to maintain and broaden existing programmes.

WHEN: 7-8 a.m.

WHERE: Skill Building, Room 7.

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WHAT: Finding Common Ground: Integration of HIV/AIDS into Sexual and Reproductive Health Programmes.

WHEN: 4:15-5:45 p.m.

WHERE: Session Room 3.

WHAT: Press Conference: Uniting for Prevention.

Formal launch of joint report (please see above) that examines demonstrably effective HIV prevention measures for young people.

WHEN: 4-4:45 p.m.

WHERE: Media Centre, Room 2, Level 300, 255 Front Street.

Thursday, 17 August

WHAT: Press Conference: HIV Prevention and Male Circumcision.

WHEN: Noon.

WHERE: Media Centre, Room 3.

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WHAT: MTV 48 Fest: Eight Short Films Produced by Youth. MTV will provide eight youth teams with a topic, camera equipment and only 48 hours to write, shoot, edit and produce eight documentary films on HIV/AIDS. The winner will be chosen at the evening event. Sponsored by UNFPA and MTV Staying Alive

WHO: With performances by K’naan and special guests.

WHEN: 8 p.m.

WHERE: The MTV Concert Hall, 888 Yonge Street.

For other media resources and a full list of events, please visit the UNFPA website: www.unfpa.org/hiv

Contact Information:

Patricia Leidl
Toronto
Cell Phone:
Email: leidl@unfpa.org  

Omar Gharzeddine
New York
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5028
Email: gharzeddine@unfpa.org  

Abubakar Dungus
New York
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5031
Email: dungus@unfpa.org  

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