(Photo: International AIDS Society)
As the 2012 International AIDS Conference begins, experts at the event are saying that there is "no excuse" for not taking major action against the global disease.
The conference is expected to draw approximately 25,000 people by its conclusion and has several major speakers and scientists reporting on the global effort to stop the AIDS virus.
Shawn Jain, U.S. communications and media relations coordinator for the International AIDS Conference, told The Christian Post that this "no excuse" statement is enforced by recent developments.
"These developments include new evidence of the dramatic benefits of HIV treatment as prevention, which demonstrates that this strategy has the potential to alter the course of the epidemic," said Jain.
"Additionally, scientific breakthroughs have led to renewed momentum for an HIV cure. Leading scientists and research institutions from around the world are working together to develop a global scientific strategy for an HIV cure, which was launched just prior to AIDS 2012."
However, as Jain noted, despite the new advances made by researchers, the financial means to advance these developments appears lacking.
"Yet, at this moment of extraordinary scientific progress and potential, the global response to AIDS faces crippling financial challenges that threaten both past and future progress," said Jain.
"World leaders must find the resources and the collective will now to bring these programs to scale so that people all over the world can benefit from the strategies available."
Taking place in Washington, D.C., the 2012 International AIDS Conference began on Sunday and will conclude on Friday. Prominent speakers for the Conference include former President Bill Clinton, actress Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Gates, Elton John, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The theme for AIDS 2012 is "Turning the Tide Together," which Jain told CP focused on the belief that now was a "pivotal moment" in the effort to stop AIDS.
"By acting decisively on recent scientific advances that have changed the landscape of the epidemic and by pursuing the momentum for an HIV vaccine and cure, we can turn the tide together on HIV and begin the march toward the end of AIDS," said Jain.
"AIDS 2012 will serve as an urgent, science-driven call to action, challenging all stakeholders to harness their expertise, energy and resources to mount an effective and efficient response that can turn the tide on HIV."
As the sessions of the 2012 International AIDS Conference take place, prominent faith leaders have also come to D.C. to hold a summit on AIDS awareness.
Saddleback Church, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, and Food for the Hungry will be sponsoring an event on Wednesday at Georgetown University on the matter.
Titled "The Summit on the Role of the Christian Faith in Community in Global Heath and HIV/AIDS," the event will feature Pastor Rick Warren, World Vision President Rich Stearns, Catholic Relief Services President Carolyn Woo, and others.