I have had the pleasure of participating in the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna this past week. As you may know, last week, President Obama held a reception at the White House to celebrate the work of the HIV/AIDS community as his Administration launched the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The positive reaction to the Strategy and the energy of so many advocates, providers, and Federal officials to take the next step to implement the Strategy has been evident throughout the Vienna meeting. This has been just one part of what has made this conference so exciting and full of hope for me. In addition to many great oral sessions and poster sessions, the conference has been electrified by several major research breakthroughs with implications for vaccines to prevent HIV as well as microbicides to protect women from becoming infected by their male partners.
Today also marks the beginning of our collective work to maintain the momentum coming out of Vienna to ensure that at the next conference, in Washington, DC, we all have a solid record of new accomplishments. From the perspective of the United States government, the DC conference will be an important opportunity to showcase American leadership in working to end AIDS at home and around the world. I thought you would like to see the message from President Obama welcoming delegates to the Vienna conference to Washington, DC in July 2012.
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Ending the HIV pandemic is an important challenge of our time and, for the first time in a long time, it feels like something that is within reach. I hope that we take another step towards this goal in DC two years from now.
Gregorio Millett is the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of National AIDS Policy and he is representing the United States on the Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC) for the AIDS 2012 Conference.