An Indian who moderates an Internet forum on HIV/AIDS for the UN will be among those attending the 16th International AIDS Conference here scheduled from Aug 13. //
"Canada is eager to welcome the delegates to build support for eliminating disparities in access to HIV treatment throughout the world," said Mark Wainberg, a conference co-chair and director of the McGill University AIDS Center.
The biennial conference, to be attended by about 20,000 delegates including physicians, researchers, educators, social workers and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), will be held in Metro Toronto Center and its downtown vicinity.
Canada's Governor General Micha?lle Jean will inaugurate the meet, which will be capped by a star-studded rock concert.
New Delhi-based E. Mohamed Rafique, who moderates an Internet forum on HIV/AIDS for the UN in India, is scheduled to conduct a skill-building workshop for HIV/AIDS forum moderators.
Hopefully, the conference would help create strategies to remove stigma and discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS, he told News India-Times.
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates are expected to address the gathering. Among the other distinguished participants include former US president Bill Clinton, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and actor Richard Gere.
During the more than 400 sessions, the participants will discuss scientific advances and current policy issues regarding AIDS.
Canada has liberalised visa process for visitors to facilitate their participation in the meet, reportedly due to the lobbying by the organisers and the Canadian HIV/AIDS legal network.
However, several participants from Nepal have been facing problems getting visas, according to a Toronto Star report.
"Some (Nepalese) delegates are not high salaried... many would have paid more than their month's salary just to come to Delhi to apply for visa," Rafique said.
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