Harm reduction is a pillar of the German national drug strategy; it has more needle and syringe vending machines than any other country – 160 at last count. Additionally, Germany recently made HIV self-testing kits easily available for sale throughout the country with the aim of supporting more people to learn their HIV status as early as possible and seek out early treatment.
The lack of these harm reduction interventions in Russia in particular has made the bordering Eastern Europe and Central Asia region home to the fastest growing HIV and AIDS epidemic in the world, with new infections rising by 57% a year from 2010 to 2015. The epidemic in the region is concentrated mostly in key populations, such as men who have sex with men, LGBT communities, sex workers and migrants. It is especially prevalent among people who inject drugs, who made up 39% of new HIV cases in 2017.
Berlin joins a diverse line-up of cities that have hosted the IAS Conference on HIV Science, including Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sydney and Vancouver.
“We are very proud to host the world’s most influential meeting on HIV research, it represents Berlin’s commitment to investing in cutting-edge and evidence-based approaches to ensure quality of life and equal access to treatment and prevention services. We look forward to working with the IAS to advance science and research needed for the global fight against HIV/AIDS.”
Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller