Talking science in South Africa

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31 Oct 2014

The first international scientific conference to feature the latest research on all forms of biomedical HIV prevention has been held in Cape Town, South Africa. Called HIV Research for Prevention 2014 (HIVR4P), the four-day biennial event brought together 1,300 leaders in HIV prevention research, programs and policy.

HIV4RP, which concludes today, explored some of the most compelling issues in the HIV science sector including the latest research on vaccines, microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis and treatment as prevention. The conference takes place at a critical juncture as the search for effective biomedical HIV prevention options has progressed further and faster in recent years than at any time since the epidemic began more three decades ago.

During the opening on Tuesday, an award was launched to recognise people’s work in HIV prevention. Named the Desmond Tutu Award for Prevention and Human Rights, the award’s first recipient was the former archbishop himself. “We are at a point where we can tell how far away we are from victory,” said Tutu. He added: “Prevention cannot be forced. It must be implemented within the context of human rights.”

BY CHRISTOPHER KELLY