XV International World AIDS Conference, 11-16 July 2004, Bangkok

The biennial World AIDS Conference, which alternates hosting by countries in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, is the largest and broadest focused of the international HIV meetings.

At this year’s event close to 20,000 delegates met at a conference centre on the outskirts of Bangkok. Although basic and clinical science tracks are still important, they are now out-numbered by combined studies on social, prevention, community and access.

The meeting rightly continues to be a focus for access to treatment on a global scale, following advances made at the meeting in Durban in 2000, and in Barcelona two years ago which led to the launch of the 3×5 treatment initiative to treat three million people by 2005.

With only 440,000 people on treatment in July, the shortfall has been highlighted in previous issues of HTB, and is covered in detail in the access overview from the conference (below).

This meeting also saw IV drug user (IVDU) issues included as a priority on the agenda for access to treatment. Some of the largest recent epidemics have been mainly driven by this route of infection. Prevention and harm reduction programmes are often poorly funded, even if there is political will to support them. More often, as with treatment itself, this is very limited where it exists at all.

We include several important reports on this issue at the start of our coverage.

Unless stated otherwise, all references in the following conference reports are to the programme and abstracts of the XV International AIDS Conference, July 11-16, 2004, Bangkok, Thailand.

Searchable abstracts from the meeting are already online:

Many of the lectures are available online, as are some slide sets for the webcast. Transcripts of some lectures are also available as pdf files:

This meeting did not include a large amount of new clinical data – and there seems to be a consensus from both clinicians and advocates who attended the meeting. The most important studies are included here, but several good websites also cover other studies and presentations.

Specific reports are linked in the On The Web section of this issue of HTB, and particularly useful sites include:

Public statements, transcriptions, reports and pictures relating to community and activist demonstrations are online at:

We will also include additional reports in the next issue of HTB (October/November 2004).

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.