Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000
INTERNATIONAL AIDS CONFERENCE: AIDS EXPERTS URGED TO ATTEND
Denouncing calls for a boycott of the XIII International AIDS Confer-
ence (AIDS 2000) in Durban, South Africa, this summer, International
AIDS Vaccine Initiative President Dr. Seth Berkley said, "This is not
the time to undercut efforts to address developing country issues."
Berkley responded this week to the calls for a boycott, which stemmed
from South African President Thabo Mbeki's willingness to consult
AIDS dissidents. Noting that this is the first international AIDS
conference to be held in a developing nation, he added, "For the
first time in history, conference organizers have gone out of their
way to ensure that an international conference is firmly rooted in
the issues that affect developing countries," such as vertical trans-
mission, vaccine research and access to anti-AIDS therapies (IAVI re-
At the heart of the matter is recent criticism of Mbeki, who has ex-
pressed interest in AIDS dissenters, questioned whether AIDS is
caused by HIV and refused to provide AZT to HIV-positive pregnant
women. "People are thinking of boycotting the conference because of
all of these issues," an IAVI spokesperson said, but added that the
conference "is a chance to get all of these issues out in the open"
(Reaney, Reuters/Contra Costa Times, 4/10).
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