Washington DC Mayor, Vincent C. Gray, handed the iconic Conference Globe on to the Victorian Minister for Health, Mr David Davis and the AIDS 2014 Co-Chairs, International AIDS Society President, Noble Laureate Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, at the closing event.
The spotlight was on the 2014 host city during the Closing Ceremony with a major focus on what is to be expected when Melbourne takes the reins for what will be the largest medical conference ever held in Australia.
Mr Davis was joined by Commonwealth Health Minister, Tania Plibersek and former US President, Bill Clinton at the ceremony.
Mr Davis said the Closing Ceremony was an opportunity to showcase Melbourne’s unique international offering and why it is a fitting choice for the next International AIDS Conference.
“The Asia-Pacific region has the largest geographic area and experts from the region have a unique perspective on the HIV epidemic,” Mr Davis said.
“The opportunity to stand side-by-side with global leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS at the Closing Ceremony was a privilege and further strengthens Melbourne’s reputation as an international leader in medical innovation, especially in HIV/AIDS research, prevention and clinical care.”
Professor Sharon Lewin said the upcoming conference would be the first to be held in the Asia-Pacific region since 2004 and the timing was integral in the broader international HIV/AIDS context.
“2015 has been identified by the United Nations as the target for specific HIV/AIDS treatments and new millennium goals so AIDS 2014 will provide an important opportunity for researchers, scientists, doctors, business leaders and government to come together and assess these pressing priorities,” Professor Lewin said.
“The most effective global response to HIV must include access to treatment and continued investment to find a vaccine and a cure – this will be a major focus for AIDS 2014 in Melbourne.”
The Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB) led the bid process in securing Melbourne as the host city for AIDS 2014, a six-day event to be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) which will generate an estimated AUD $80 million for the Victorian economy and attract more than 14,000 delegates to the city.
MCVB Chief Executive Officer, Karen Bolinger said the International AIDS Conference was among the most significant and esteemed medical events in the world, but is only the beginning in terms of Melbourne’s impressive international conference line-up.
“The next two and a half years will see Melbourne host seven major international conferences including the World Diabetes Conference and the International Congress of Paediatrics in 2013, and the World Congress of Cardiology and the World Cancer Congress in 2014, leaving little doubt in our extraordinary biotech and medical capabilities,” Ms Bolinger said.
MCEC Chief Executive, Peter King said after attending AIDS 2012 in Washington he was very much looking forward to hosting AIDS 2014 at the Convention Centre.
“The International AIDS Conference is an event of significant magnitude and we have the credentials and capabilities at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to ensure AIDS 2014 is a great success,” Mr King said.
AIDS 2014 will be hosted in Melbourne at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 20 – 25 July 2014. For more information visit www.aids2014.org.