2013, 7th International AIDS Society (IAS) HIV Conference on Pathogenesis

Malaysia will host the prestigious 7th International AIDS Society (IAS) HIV Conference on Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013), the first time the conference will be held in Asia.

Started in 2001, the biennial conference rotates around the world and alternates around developing and developed countries. The IAS aims to examine the latest developments in HIV-related research and to explore how scientific advances can be translated quickly into effective interventions to prevent and treat HIV, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Announcing Malaysia’s latest bid success, Minister of Tourism Malaysia, YB Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen said, “Between 5,000 to 6,000 delegates from 125 countries are expected to converge at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre for the four-day conference in July 2013. With almost an estimated 90 percent of the delegates coming from overseas, the conference is estimated to generate over

RM78 million (EUR19 million, USD25 million) in economic value to the Malaysian economy.

“The strong collaboration between the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Ministry of Health, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, Malaysia Airlines and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to secure the conference is highly commendable,” YB Dato’ Sri Dr Ng said.

IAS 2013 is the first large scale event that has been secured under the recently launched Economic Transformation Programme. As one of the Entry Point Projects in the Programme, the business tourism segment is expected to contribute RM3.9 billion in incremental Gross National Income (GNI) and 16,700 additional jobs to the nation by year 2020.

“The government’s commitment and support towards business tourism is now at a level where Malaysia can compete more effectively in the international marketplace and thereby attracting more international and regional business events to the country,” said Mr Zulkefli Hj Sharif, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau.

Commenting on Malaysia’s bid, Ms Anouk Rey, Conference Director, International AIDS Society said, “Hosting the event in Malaysia will not only be attractive to our delegates in terms of destination (touristic aspects, value for money) but it is also centrally located in Asia to attract HIV professionals from neighbouring countries. As the conference would only come to Asia once in a decade, we believe that hosting the conference in Kuala Lumpur will benefit both the delegates and the country. The impact of the conference on HIV knowledge in the area will be very valuable.”

In addition, “We are very impressed by the Malaysian government’s commitment to provide free HIV treatment to all Malaysians in need of antiretroviral therapy. Malaysia’s leadership could help serve as a model not only for countries in Asia Pacific but also for Islamic countries, especially in the area of harm reduction. We also learned that Malaysian doctors have been acting in accordance with global best practice. It underscores our interest in bringing the conference to Malaysia so that our colleagues from around the world can learn from such best practice.”

Delighted with the decision, Datuk Peter Brokenshire, General Manager of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre said, “We are honoured that yet another international medical gathering has chosen the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre as its venue of choice and we look forward to welcoming the delegates in 2013. As with the 135 other international conferences the Centre has hosted in its five years of operation, a distinguished event such as IAS 2013 will not only boost the Centre’s reputation as the country’s premier convention facility but also serve to seal Malaysia’s growing popularity as a business tourism destination of choice in the region.

Hosted by the Switzerland-based International AIDS Society, IAS 2013 is expected to attract world leading scientists, clinicians, public health experts and community practitioners on the frontlines of the epidemic as well as policy planners. The conference was previously held in Sydney (2007), Cape Town (2009), with the next edition to be held in Rome, Italy in July 2011.