‘AIDS 2010’ will have EE focus

Organisers of the International AIDS Conference to be held in Vienna later this year said the event’s focus would be on marginalised groups with the disease like drug addicts in Eastern Europe (EE).Michel Sidibe, head of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, said yesterday (Weds) that the conference would be held “for people without a voice”.Thousands of experts and people suffering from AIDS and HIV are expected to come to the city for the event set to take place from 18 to 23 July.Sidibe said yesterday: “’AIDS 2010’ will put a spotlight on the rapidly growing HIV/AIDS epidemics in Eastern Europe fuelled primarily by unsafe injecting of drugs.”Organisers of the summit, which takes place every other year, said they had decided to hold the conference in Vienna to highlight the bad situation in EE. The Austrian capital is regarded as a “gateway” to the region.Robin Gorna, head of the International AIDS Society, said that sharing needles and injection equipment was thought to be three times more likely to transmit HIV than sexual intercourse.Statistics from 2007 showed that an estimated 33.2 million people were living with HIV around the world.Austrian authorities, meanwhile, have announced that 300 of the 520 people infected with the virus last year in Austria were Vienna residents.”AIDS 2010″ will be kicked off with the Life Ball at Vienna City Hall on 17 July, the biggest AIDS charity event in the world. Previous editions of the ball have been attended by personalities like Sharon Stone and Bill Clinton.Go to www.aids2010.org for more information on the conference.