SBB Attends International AIDS Conference

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Image from HIV/AIDS Conference

Lighting fixtures made from used pill packets, as a reminder about the importance of medicines for HIV/AIDS.

SBB attended the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, and wow, what an experience! More than 20,000 people from all over the world came together in one place to discuss the progress being made in preventing and treating HIV and AIDS. Scientists, doctors, community activists, and many other groups all met to push for more support of AIDS programs.

SBB was there because NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow was speaking at the conference about the link between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. She said that many people who use drugs contract HIV through (1) sharing needles used to inject drugs (like heroin), and (2) doing risky things when they’re on drugs, like having unprotected sex.

Methadone Man and Buprenorphine Babe at the 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna.

Many creative people were there. They even made art from pill packets used to hold HIV/AIDS medicines, making the point that catching people early in the disease and starting them on antiretroviral medications can greatly lower the spread of HIV and help prevent its progression to AIDS.

Also, “Methadone Man” and “Bupenorphrine Babe” made an appearance—a compelling way to remind people that effective medicines are also available for drug abuse, and that drug abuse treatment can help prevent HIV. It is an urgent problem. In some parts of the world people who are addicted to drugs and have AIDS are just locked up in prison, with no treatment for either their AIDS or for their drug addiction.

To learn about the connection between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS, take a look at NIDA’s Learn the Link campaign at http://hiv.drugabuse.gov/index.html

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