2014 has been an extraordinary year for global health and for infectious diseases -for all the right and wrong reasons-which we certainly ought to seriously reflect on. I very much believe that it will be the lessons we learn from this year`s experiences that will help us approach what is shaping up to be nothing less than a momentous 2015 for global health.
My first stop was New Delhi where UNAIDS India and the Government of Victoria hosted a public seminar where I delivered a lecture detailing the progress on work towards an HIV cure. Prior to the seminar I met with journalists from some of the country's leading newspapers and it is my hope we will see some of those outlets reporting on AIDS 2014 from Melbourne.
I'm writing this at the tail end of what has been a hectic but extraordinarily energising week on the path to AIDS2014 - I know it's only October 2013 but it is certainly apparent already to me and my colleagues both here in Australia and at the IAS Secretariat in Switzerland that there is already a groundswell of momentum building ahead of the event.
Walking into the room, I saw eight people - predominantly doctors - and I could tell that at least five had already made up their minds to reject the project. It started predictably: "Well, we have spent a lot of time discussing this very interesting project, but have some significant concerns." That was why I was there - to allay their fears and get on with this important project. That was not to be.
society safely compartmentalises HIV as a nasty disease restricted to gay men... And everybody's happy. Except, I would hope, a lot of gay men, who must surely be scratching their heads and wondering why there's such a prurient interest in their sex lives - and, worst of all, why they haven't been invited to these hedonistic shagfests.
Whenever headlines such as 'Cure for HIV' appear in the press, they have a few unintended secondary effects: the general populace takes them as a sign that HIV is over, and that there is no longer a problem, despite the fact that charities such as ours know very well that there is much work to be done.
Since the first reports of HIV in the early 1980s, Australia has always played a leading role in HIV research. In July 2014, 18 000 scientists, bureaucrats, activists, politicians, doctors and nurses from around the world will descend on Melbourne for AIDS2014 -the 20th International AIDS Conference.