[Original article available here]
The 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) will be a pivotal moment in the HIV response. As such, the organizers are deeply committed to ensuring that the International AIDS Conference remains accessible to everyone, particularly attendees from resource-limited settings. Over the past several months, recent shifts in global exchange rates have significantly lowered the value of many currencies against the U.S. Dollar. The ripple effect of this economic shift strikes directly at the heart of our theme: Access Equity Rights Now.
We are taking this threat very seriously and have been working to come to a solution that ensures wide participation to the conference. As part of our commitment to accessibility and in response to these global economic shifts, AIDS 2016 is providing a number of new provisions to financially support conference participation. These include:
- Expanded access: We will be providing an additional 200 registrations as part of the newly created Civil Society Access Initiative to increase the number of civil society participants from sub-Saharan Africa.
- Reduced registration cost: The registration fee has been reduced by up to 23 per cent based on a delegate’s country of residence. Detailed information on the revised registration fee is available on the registration fee page here. Individuals who have already paid will be reimbursed the difference.
- Extended early registration deadline: Extending the Early Registration deadline to 28 April at the newly decreased registration rate.
These changes are in addition to the historic commitments that AIDS 2016 has already made, which include:
- Doubling the number of scholarships provided for young researchers and civil society
- Substantial investments in free public access space at the conference
- Financial support to civil society partners
Collectively these efforts will help ensure that AIDS 2016 is the most inclusive and representative International AIDS Conference ever.
It is clear the world needs a strong, bold statement on the importance of increased investment in research, implementation and community-based systems for HIV. AIDS 2016 will be that defining moment in the history of the HIV epidemic. The conference will provide a crucial opportunity for scientists, public health leaders, front-line health workers, advocates, and others dedicated to fighting HIV to come together as a global community to establish a clear path forward to end AIDS. .