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NZ to Host Pan Pacific HIV/AIDS conference

20 January 2005

New Zealand to Host Pan Pacific HIV/AIDS conference

Submissions have opened for what is expected to be the biggest international HIV/AIDS conference to be hosted in New Zealand.

The “Te Whanau O Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa, Me Te Mate Parekore – Family of the Pacific and HIV/AIDS” Pan Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS Conference 2005 will take place in Auckland from 25 to 28 October. It will be the first conference of its size and type to be held in New Zealand for many years.

Convened by representatives of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Body Positive New Zealand, the Pacific Island AIDS Foundation, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, UNAIDS and the Auckland University of Technology, the conference will take place amidst a climate of rapidly spreading HIV in the Pacific region and an increasing incidence of new HIV diagnoses in New Zealand.

NZ AIDS Foundation Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier says that HIV/AIDS has the potential to one of the most serious health issues in the Pacific region.

“The UNAIDS group recently stated that HIV had spread further and faster in the world than ever predicted. We are now seeing it enter our neighbouring Pacific nations in concerning numbers, and New Zealand and Australia are both battling with a new surge in HIV diagnoses.

“This conference is an important opportunity to bring people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, researchers, educators, clinicians, policy makers, health promoters, tribal and church leaders, and community organisations together to share ideas, successes, challenges and identify opportunities for cooperation. The exciting aspect of this conference is that it will prioritise our region and be done in a way that respects and includes our cultural norms.

“It is also an opportunity to raise the profile of HIV/AIDS in all of our communities – gay, straight, pakeha, Maori, Pacific or Aboriginal. “Sweeping this issue under the carpet or pretending it’s not happening will not defeat the progress of HIV in our communities. Talking about it, unifying action and accepting global as well as local responsibility for action, will.”

Conference streams include: Improving Care – clinical research, treatment and care Engaging Communities – health promotion, intervention and community action Building Knowledge – Basic science, epidemiology and social research Strengthening Leadership – Policy, leadership and human rights

Applications to present submissions, papers and posters to the conference have opened and are being sought throughout the Pacific region.

For more information on submissions contact Pan Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS Conference 2005 (locked mail bag 507, Darlinghurst, NSW 1300, Australia); email contact@panpacific-hivaids05.net.nz ; Website www.panpacific-hivaids05.net.nz

ENDS


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