France is hosting the 9th Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris from July 23-26.
The conference is being co-hosted this year by the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS). More than 6,000 participants are expected to attend this important event aimed at sharing knowledge about the pandemic. Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, former Director of ANRS and Chairperson of the French National Consultative Ethics Committee, and Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, President of the International AIDS Society, will be the co-chairs. The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has co-funded a scholarship program enabling young researchers from countries in the South to take part in this conference.
This is the third time France is hosting this conference (previous times were in 1986 and 2003). France is indeed a historic actor in the fight against HIV/AIDS, one of our global health priorities.
Indeed, our country is the second-largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The cumulative total of our contribution since the fund’s inception is $4.8 billion.
France also established UNITAID and is its largest donor. UNITAID accelerates the availability of innovative solutions for treatment, diagnostics, and prevention.
We also provide support for UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS).
France currently allocates more than €500 million annually to fight transmissible diseases.
Along with our political efforts and our contributions to research, French financial investment in fighting pandemics has led to considerable progress: more than 10 million HIV-positive people are now being treated in developing countries thanks to Global Fund programs, and AIDS-related mortality has fallen 45%. Thanks to UNITAID, the cost of medicines for HIV is 100 times less than it used to be.
This commitment is justified, given the challenges that remain: each year, 2.1 million people are infected by HIV, and another 1.1 million die. Even in 2017, half of HIV-positive patients still don’t have access to anti-retroviral medications (ARVs). This access is particularly limited in some areas, such as Central and West Africa, where more than 75% of HIV-positive patients cannot obtain ARVs.