2004 International AIDS Conference To Focus on Action, Organizer Says
Thai Sen. Mechai Viravaidya, co-chair of the Community Program Committee for next year's XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, said that the conference aims to "put less stress on talk and more on action," VOA News reports. In a recent interview with kaisernetwork.org, which will serve as the official webcaster of the conference, Viravaidya, who is also the head of the Population and Community Development Association, said that delegates attending the conference will "realize that Thailand has taken the problem" of HIV/AIDS "seriously," adding that they "will hear that Asia is expanding extremely rapidly in terms of HIV. And action really needs to be taken." The conference, which is scheduled for July 11-16, 2004, is expected to generate a profit, of which 50% will go toward buying more antiretroviral drugs for people in the country, according to Viravaidya. He added that at previous conferences, attendees have discussed prevention but not necessarily condom use, but "[t]hat will change in Bangkok," according to VOA News. Viravaidya also said that specific plans have been made to lighten the city's usually heavy traffic in order to ease conference attendees' commutes to the conference venue. "All schools in Bangkok are going to have a holiday, so traffic will be considerably less. And people will be delighted to find out that they can get out there in very rapid time. ... It should be pretty good and I think they're going to have a great time. They'll leave Bangkok and say, that's what an AIDS conference is going to be like in the future," he said (De Capua, VOA News, 11/20).
The kaisernetwork.org interview with Viravaidya is available online.