Hemisphere Focus: The 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City
September 15, 2008
When more than 22,000 scientists, advocates, policymakers, and activists gathered in Mexico City from August 3 to 8, for the 17th International AIDS Conference, or “AIDS 2008,” it was the first time that the meeting had taken place in Latin America. Holding the event in Mexico enabled 6,000 people from Latin America and the Caribbean, where an estimated 1.9 million live with HIV/AIDS, to join the discussions before, during, and after the conference—more than had attended any previous session. With generally low adult prevalence rates and epidemics largely concentrated among men who have sex with men or commercial sex workers, the region is often viewed as less affected by HIV/AIDS than other parts of the world. The Mexico City conference showcased the region’s challenges and achievements in addressing HIV, particularly in reaching marginalized populations, and raised the profile of Latin America and the Caribbean in international HIV/AIDS discussions.