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PAHO Director co-chair an special session on HIV/AIDS for Latin America region at AIDS 2008

XVII International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2008
August 3-8, 2008.

Mexico City. August 5, 2008.- Dr. Mirta Roses, PAHO Director co-chair the special session on HIV for Latin America region with Carlos Passarelli, Deputy Director of the Brazilian National AIDS Programme and Director of the International Center for Technical Cooperation on HIV/AIDS. The session focused the discussion about the actions taken in the Latin American region since the FORO and CONCASIDA 2007 and what has to be done to establish formal links between regional conferences and International AIDS conferences.

Dr. Roses opened the discussion expressing that - "we will try to make this session fruitful and participative. I will comment about some of the expectations that we have for this session. As you know, LAC is a very heterogeneous region. It is the region with the most inequality on the planet and that is why epidemic is very heterogeneous and will affect in this proportion mainly to the most vulnerable groups in the region. We have to take into account that not always LAC, due to its economic indicators, comes to be one of the attractive areas of the world for international cooperation.

We have to take into account certain features such as the growing feminization of the epidemics and the fact that despite these problems, the response of the region was quite early, was strong, very well organized and as a consequence, we have several discussions FORA and one of the issues that I think we should analyze is the relationship among the different FORO CONCASIDA, the participation of the International Conference, in order to express the needs and to identify their achievements and the obstacles that we have in this region, where besides that we have many partners, many allies and many people participating in this struggle and some of them will have their voice represented in the panel and many more in the audience.

I expect that among the panelists and the people of the audience we could show, express that heterogeneity of the region, but also the will to move forward in a more forceful way in stepping up our struggle against AIDS."

Dr. Passarelli concluded the session noting that - "I was expecting to hear about the lack of sensibility of the region in the world arena. The response to HIV/AIDS, but the presentation from the public showed that they do have sensitivity within the region. Workers, women, young people they do want a space of visibility, a space of participation that many times those who are responsibility for what is making cannot conquest or cannot guarantee.

In that sense, I believe that this is something what Latin America, this idea of looking into our own problems on the problems we are facing is fine, but we have to do is, as Javier was saying, in a more transversal manner. It has to find spaces of dialogue and maybe Latin American Conference can provide that space of dialogue where the problems from the different groups affected could work in a better manner, as you have requested.

But, at the same time, we have to know that we live in a reality of concentrated epidemics and therefore, the existing resources are not enough. So looking into our problem, we have to find the space for the dialogue and we want to be more sensitive for the rest of the world.

Latin America is forgotten in the scene of AIDS for development. If we are not together to find the way to become sensitive for the rest of the world, I think the AIDS epidemic will follow the most terrible patterns and the most unsustainable path for the future of the next generation. Thank you for your attention."

Dr. Roses also participated as special guest to the inaugural ceremony of AIDS 2008. During her visit to Mexico the PAHO Director attended several official activities with health authorities as well as important sessions for the conference which include among others the 5th meeting of the coalition of first ladies and women leaders on women and AIDS in Latin America and meeting Towards elimination of vertical transmission of HIV and Syphilis in the Caribbean.

More information:
-Presentations of this session can be found at: AIDS 2008. Regional Session on Latin America

- HIV/AIDS: Universal action now. Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General address at the opening of the XVII International AIDS Conference. Mexico City, Mexico, 3 August 2008.
- The response of the international community to the feminization of the epidemic. Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General address at the fifth meeting of the coalition of first ladies and women leaders on women and AIDS in Latin America. Mexico City, Mexico, 2 August 2008

PAHO Press Releases:
- Caribbean public health authorities propose to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV and syphilis by 2015 [08/07/2008]
- United Nations: Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean should improve, expand sexuality education [08/07/2008]
- Ministerial summit on HIV shows high level of commitment, says PAHO [06/20/2008]
- Latin American Countries Launch Programs to Improve Health Care for Sexual Minorities [05/15/2008]
- Education, prevention, treatment, testing—essential tools to combat HIV [01/29/2008]

OPS Notas de Prensa [08/07/2008]:
- Autoridades en salud pública del Caribe proponen eliminar la transmisión vertical del VIH y la sífilis para el 2015 [08/07/2008]
- Naciones Unidas: los países de América Latina y el Caribe deben mejorar y expandir la educación sexual [08/07/2008]
- Cumbre ministerial sobre VIH y jóvenes muestra un alto nivel de compromiso, dice OPS [06/20/2008]
- Países de las Américas lanzan programas para mejorar la atención en salud de minorías sexuales [05/15/2008]

For more information, please contact Diaz, Eng. Katia (WDC), Director's Office Web Master.