International AIDS Society

Daily Plenary Sessions

The daily plenary sessions feature some of the world’s most distinguished HIV scientists, policy specialists and community leaders. Plenary sessions will bring together all conference delegates at the first session of every morning.

The daily plenary topics will set the tone for the week's programme. Presentation dates and titles are subject to change.

Monday 20 July 2015

Where is PEPFAR going?

Deborah Birx, USA

Ambassador-at-Large, Deborah L. Birx, M.D., is the Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. Ambassador Birx is a world-renowned medical expert and leader in the field of HIV/AIDS. Her three-decade-long career has focused on HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health. As the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Birx oversees the implementation of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history, as well as all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Serving as the U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, she aligns the U.S. Government's diplomacy with foreign assistance programs that address global health challenges and accelerate progress toward: achieving an AIDS-free generation; ending preventable child and maternal deaths; and preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats.

From Care to Cure

Nicolas Chomont, Canada

Nicolas Chomont is an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, and Immunology at the University of Montreal. He obtained his PhD in medical virology at Pierre and Marie Curie University where he extensively studied the interactions between HIV and the genital mucosa. From 2004 to 2009, he joined Dr Sekaly's team at University of Montreal for his post-doctoral training. During this time, he described several cellular reservoirs that contribute to the persistence of latently infected cells in HIV-infected subjects receiving antiretroviral therapy. Following this appointment, he pursued his research as a principal investigator at the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida to characterize these reservoirs which represent the main obstacle to HIV eradication. At the University of Montreal, Dr. Chomont is overseeing studies to unravel the molecular mechanisms involved in HIV latency and to develop novel therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing the size of the HIV reservoir.

Co-morbidities in Children and Adolescents

Thanyawee Puthanakit, Thailand

Thanyawee Puthanakit is an associate professor and paediatric infectious disease specialist. She has been conducting paediatric HIV research for more than ten years. She is a leader in paediatric HIV treatment and care in Asia and leads several multicentre research projects in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. She also collaborates with TREAT Asia research programme and has served on the writing committee for the WHO's paediatric HIV treatment guidelines since 2006. Her research interest in paediatric HIV co-morbidities includes bone health, liver complications and neurodevelopmental outcomes among HIV-positive children and adolescents.

Biomedical Prevention (TasP and Circumcision): Contrasting Implementation Challenges

Francois Venter, South Africa

Francois Venter is currently deputy executive director of Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute and an associate professor in the Department of Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand. He is also an honorary consultant in infectious diseases at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. Dr. Venter is past president of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, which has over 3,000 members throughout Africa. His interests include access to HIV care in resource limited settings, clinical syndromes associated with HIV, and key populations, including sex workers and truckers

Tuesday 21 July 2015

ART: What to Start?

Roy M. Gulick, USA

Roy Gulick is Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Medical College, Cornell University. He is also an Attending Physician at the New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Dr. Gulick's research interests include designing, conducting and analyzing clinical trials to refine antiretroviral therapy strategies for HIV treatment and prevention and assess antiretroviral agents with new mechanisms of action. He currently serves as principal investigator of the Cornell-New Jersey HIV Clinical Trials Unit of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Dr. Gulick is co-chair of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Clinical Practices for Treatment of HIV Infection and a member of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Committee. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the International AIDS Society.

HIV-1 Transmission

Eric Hunter, USA

Eric Hunter is a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University and is co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research. His laboratory is recognized internationally for its work in defining the molecular events involved in retroviral assembly and for elucidating the structure/function relationships for retroviral gene products at a molecular level. For the past several years his team has investigated the mechanisms underlying HIV transmission among heterosexual couples in Rwanda and Zambia with an aim toward developing novel vaccine approaches to prevent it. Recently this work has expanded to include the role virus factors and host immune responses play in defining the rate of HIV-1 disease progression. Dr. Hunter has been the recipient of four NIH merit awards for his work on retrovirus molecular biology and has served as chair of the AIDS Vaccine Research Subcommittee, providing advice on AIDS vaccine research to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Evolving Drug Policy and the HIV Epidemic

Evan Wood, Canada

Evan Wood is a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and an internal medicine and addiction medicine specialist working at St. Paul's Hospital. Dr. Wood's clinical, research and educational focus has been on improving systems of care for patients with alcohol and drug addiction including those with HIV and AIDS. He is the medical director for Addiction Services at Vancouver Coastal Health, the physician programme director for Urban Health and Addiction at St. Paul's Hospital and was the founding director of the St. Paul's Hospital Goldcorp Fellowship in Addiction Medicine. He is also director of the Canada Addiction Medicine Research Fellowship.

Hepatitis C

Gregory Dore, Australia

Professor Dore is the head of the Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Programme at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales and an infectious diseases physician at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney. He has been involved in viral hepatitis and HIV epidemiological and clinical research, clinical care and public health policy for twenty years and is internationally recognised for his work in the natural history of and therapeutic strategies for acute and chronic HCV infection, particularly among people who inject drugs. He has published 250 peer-reviewed publications, including recent publications in Nature Genetics and The Lancet and has edited two books on hepatitis C. He holds large-scale ongoing research funding from the U.S. National Institutes for Health, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). He was recently president of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine and is a current member of Australia NHMRC.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

PreP and HIV

Fábio Mesquitaa, Brazil

Fábio Mesquita is the director of the STI/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Department in the Ministry of Health in Brazil where he leads the development of the new Guidelines on test and offer for HIV and the expansion of universal access to hepatitis C treatment. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Mesquita managed the first city AIDS programme in Brazil which became the basis for the Brazilian response to HIV. He later was the dead of the Prevention (1991/1992) and the Human Rights (2000) Units in Brazil National AIDS Programme. From 2000 to 2004 he was the director of the city of Sao Paulo AIDS Programme. Dr. Mesquita founded the International Harm Reduction Association. In both Latin America and South East Asia where he spent eight years, he is recognized as a key player in the expansion of harm reduction programmes in settings where the HIV epidemic is driven by injection drug use.

The Epidemic of HIV in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Michel Kazatchkine, Switzerland

Michel Kazatchkine is the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia since 2012. In this position, he focuses on building high‐level political support for national and regional responses to the HIV epidemic and advocates for improved access to prevention, treatment and care for the populations most in need. He is also a professor of immunology at the Université René Descartes in Paris and has authored or co-authored over 500 articles. Professor Kazatchkine has played key roles in various organizations, notably serving as director of The National Agency for Research on AIDS in France (1998 - 2005) and as French Ambassador on HIV/AIDS (2005-2007). He was a board member and vice-chair of the Board of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and in 2007, was elected executive director of this institution, a position in which he served until March 2012.


Glenda Gray, South Africa

Glenda Gray is president of the Medical Research Council (MRC) of South Africa. She is also a professor of paediatrics in the Faculty of Health Sciences, at the University of the Witwatersrand and a professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute. Before joining MRC to lead their Office of AIDS Research she was the executive director of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit. Professor Gray is the co-principal investigator of the NIH-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network and the director of HVTN International Programs. In 2002, she was awarded the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award for pioneering work done in the field of mother-to-child transmission. In 2013, she received the country's highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, granted by the president of South Africa for international achievements benefitting South Africa.