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Leading scientists meet in London at 18th European AIDS Conference

Leading scientists from 93 countries meet in London at 18thEuropean AIDS Conference

London 29 October 2021:  Scientists, clinicians and community activists from 93 countries have come together at London's first major international HIV conference, the 18th European AIDS Conference, at the ExCeL Centre, 27 - 30 October.  It is also the first major conference there since the pandemic, with 3,000+ delegates joining together in a hybrid event, with around a quarter attending on site, and the remainder participating in real time online.

EACS President Sanjay Bhagani welcomed colleagues to a conference which expressed the theme of crossing borders in the nationalities attending, in the science and technology it shared, and in the partnerships and collaborative working relationships of the sector. This theme ran through all conference sessions.  Co-Chair Annemarie Wessing spoke of the contribution of Charles Boucher, a scientist who died earlier this year who brought people together as an educator, inspiring them to collaborate.  She also called for HIV testing to be incorporated throughout all medical specialisms in order to increase the diagnosis of hard to reach groups.

Another conference first was the appointment of Matthew Hodson, a man living openly with HIV, as the first ever community Co-Chairof a conference of the European AIDS Clinical Society, reflecting its commitment to putting the HIV community at the heart of its activities.  Matthew talked about the many local and international community organisations taking part in the conference, the display of the UK AIDS Quilt, and the first HIV march in London.  The march is themed to Respect! and will begin after the conference ends on Saturday 30 October, going from Parliament Square at 14.15 hrs to Trafalgar Square where from 15.15 hrs speakers, including HIV activists, politicians and celebrities, will address a rally.

Sir David Sloman, NHS Regional Director for London, introduced the keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday 27 October, Professor Kevin Fenton, NHS London Regional Director of Public Health and Co-Chair of the London Fast-Track Cities initiative. Kevin Fenton told attendees that while the HIV pandemic remains a global problem, London is leading the race to eliminate new HIV diagnoses.

The capital has already succeeded in reaching UNAIDS initial goal of diagnosis, treatment and undetectable viral load in people living with HIV.  It is now ahead of other world cities in achieving 95% of people living with HIV diagnosed, 95% of those diagnosed on HIV treatment and 95% of those on treatment with an undetectable level of virus in the blood so that they cannot pass on HIV sexually to others.  London is now on target to reach zero new HIV infections, zero preventable HIV-related deaths and zero HIV stigma by 2030 (

The conference's opening ceremony also included a recorded message of support from Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was unable to attend in person.

The ceremony ended with the presentation of the biennial EACS Award in recognition of an individual's longstanding, impactful and sustained professional contribution to the field of HIV. In 2021 a joint award was made to two people who have both made significant but different contributions to the HIV sector.  The first winner, Professor Andrej Horban, is a long serving member of EACS who developed and led HIV services in Poland, eventually establishing and running the largest national HIV clinic for more than 25 years.  He also co-chaired the EACS conference when it was held in Warsaw in 2003. 20 years later the EACS conference in 2023 will also be in Warsaw, highlighting the needs of the HIV sector in Eastern Europe.  The second joint award winner is Simon Collins, an outstanding long term UK based HIV advocate and activist who combines championing the rights of people living with HIV with a commitment to sharing knowledge and science in the community through the HIV i-Base Treatment Bulletin and help line.

For further information: see full EA daily Scientific Programme via this link:

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