Saturday, June 20, 2009

ICAAP 9 Opens for Volunteers

Jakarta (15 June 2009) In modern societies the most basic of all values is one of cooperation, helping one another, which will in turn help themselves. Besides being helpful to others, volunteerism is one way to ensure your professional skills are kept honed, your resume stays up to date, and you get new connections and contacts while away from school or work.

The 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) to be held in Bali, Indonesia, from 9 to 13 August 2009 is an important and innovative congress in offering new ways to strengthen the health system in different countries by the sharing of information and experience, sharing of new scientific innovations, and is proof that the participation of civil society at all levels in policy making and monitoring is the best solution to address cross-border HIV pandemic.

In Asia and the Pacific, with its diverse cultures, religion, economy and politics, AIDS remains the main concern: AIDS remains one of the highest causes of death and loss of work for people aged 15 to 44 years. Although the total number of AIDS cases in Asia is relatively low compared to Africa, evidence shows that HIV infection is on an upward trend.

With the theme ”Empowering People, Strengthening Networks”, the 9th ICAAP will bring together individuals, institutions, companies, societies, and networks, whether governmental, non-governmental, and private sector, to share experiences and work together towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015 of reducing the AIDS pandemic.

The 9th ICAAP needs at least 313 volunteers. Of this total, only 102 people have registered for volunteer work in this biggest AIDS congress in Asia and the Pacific.

”We need as many volunteers as possible. But we are targeting at least 313 volunteers to participate. So we still need about 200 more volunteers for this 9th ICAAP,” the congress’s Volunteer Coordinator Madrina Mazhar said.

Madrina said that volunteers should have adequate understanding of volunteerism, adding that many benefits can be gained by being one, including a valuable opportunity to be involved in a major international event that will involve the participation of representatives from 65 countries.

”ICAAP volunteers will have the opportunity to significantly contribute to the success of ICAAP. They will be able to meet and connect with new people from countries around Asia and the Pacific. What’s more, we could build our own networking with people from all over,” she said.

Volunteer contribution in this event is significant to the success of the 9th ICAAP as their participation will be needed in all aspects of the congress organization. Requirements for being a 9th ICAAP volunteer include already being 18 years old, ability to speak and understand English, good interpersonal skills, as well as having empathy and knowledge on issues related with people living with HIV (PLHIV).

Those interested to become volunteers should register and receive more information through the website Registration is open until July 4, 2009.

For more information, contact:

Ika Nazaruddin
Pacto Convex
Ph 62-21 571-9973

Madrina Mazhar
Volunteer Coordinator
Ph. 62-361 9134040

Ristya Paramita
Public Information Officer
Ph. 62-21-39838845/46

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ICAAP 9 Press Release


Jakarta [3 June 2009]. On 9-13 August 2009, Bali will host the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) – the biggest congress on HIV and AIDS in the region. Approximately 3,000 delegates from 51 Asian and 14 Pacific countries are expected to attend this congress. The theme of the 9th ICAAP is “Empowering People, Strengthening Networks” to support a vibrant community of empowered people, all across Asia and the Pacific, to mobilize a holistic and more effective response to the crossborder challenges of today’s HIV pandemic.

The Local Organizing Committee Chair, Prof. Dr. Zubairi Djoerban,Sp.PD-KHOM, who is also the Chair of the Indonesian AIDS Society (Masyarakat Peduli AIDS Indonesia), said “we recognize that ICAAP is the second largest AIDS forum in the world and are grateful for the confidence in Indonesia to host this important meeting. We are inspired by the decision and will work hard to assure that the congress activities will advance regional efforts to respond effectively to the challenge of HIV and AIDS today and in the future.”

Mr. JVR Prasada Rao, Director, Regional Support Team, Asia and the Pacific, Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS), added, “the 9th ICAAP promises to be an even better and bigger conference than previous ICAAPs. There will be evidence-based discussion on whether Universal Access can be an achievable goal by 2010 for many countries in Asia and the Pacific. Every facet of the epidemic and the region’s responses are featured in the wide array of session and activities.”

The congress will take place at the Bali International Convention Centre (BICC) in Nusa Dua, and is scheduled to be officially opened on 9 August by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in a ceremony at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park.

ICAAP is a biennial gathering for the release and discussion of scientific, programmatic and policy
developments in the global response to HIV/AIDS and is convened by AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific (ASAP). In his message to the 9th ICAAP, Professor Myung-Hwan Cho, President of ASAP said that “Indonesia has been given the opportunity to take bold and innovative steps n support of the regional response to HIV and AIDS. Countries of Asia and other regions will be waiting to see Indonesia take the lead.”

According to the Independent Commission on AIDS in Asia (2008), AIDS remains the most likely cause of death and loss of work days among people aged 15 to 44. The number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Asia in 2007 is an estimated 5 million, with a number of new infections (380,000) comparatively speaking equal to the number of people who died from AIDS-related illnesses (380,000). In Oceania an estimated 740,000 people were living with HIV in 2007 of which 13,000 were new infections.

Reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on HIV and AIDS requires all member countries to halt and reverse the spread of the epidemic by 2015; this includes the Universal Access target of 2010 whereby all those who need treatment should also receive it, and the urgency to strengthen each country’s health system to ensure effective delivery of services and response.

Mr Rao continued, “what is really impressive is that the conference will showcase the immense progress made by community groups, working together and in partnership with government and other partners, in spearheading the response in many countries in the Asia Pacific region.”

Similar to previous ICAAPs, sessions will be divided into Plenary Sessions where distinguished
researchers, community leaders and policy specialists share the latest information and experiences; 24 symposia on topics such as addressing legal barriers and criminalization of at-risk populations, and a leadership session for delegates from the Pacific region; 64 oral sessions on topics related to prevention, care support and treatment of HIV and AIDS, understanding socio-cultural, economic and political determinants in the AIDS response, and on leadership.

Besides these, 32 skills-building workshops will also be held to help delegates improve various skills that can apply to their daily work; Satellite Meetings and Exhibitions showcase the efforts of civil society and the private sector in the response to HIV and AIDS.

Distinguished guest speakers will include Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director; Michel Kazatchkine, Director of the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM); Kyung-Wha Kang, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights; Dr Nafiz Sadik, Special Envoy for AIDS in Asia and the Pacific; Myung Hwan Cho, President of AIDS Society of Asia and Pacific (ASAP) and representatives from Seven Sisters, Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV (APN+), Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), CARAM Asia, Asian Harm Reduction Network (AHRN), APCASO, APN Rainbow.

A Community Forum will also take place before the congress on 7–8 August, where various communities each have their own conference to identify and share common issues and experiences. Seven communities will be represented including people living with HIV (PLHIV); Injecting Drug Users (IDU); Interfaith; Men who have sex with Men (MSM) and Transgender; Sex Workers; Women, including Lesbians; and Youth.

The Asia-Pacific Village will be a friendly, fun and colorful venue to celebrate the region’s diversity, with arts and music performances, small group discussions, informal education activities, and regional stalls selling handicrafts and snacks made by people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. The Asia-Pacific Village will be open to the general public.

Prior to the official opening ceremony on 9 August, a high-level meeting of AIDS Ambassadors will be held, co-hosted by the First Lady and National AIDS Ambassador, Mrs. Ani Bambang Yudhoyono, and AIDS Ambassador of Australia, Murray Proctor. The AIDS Ambassador’s Meeting will address the role of AIDS Ambassadors in the region in mobilizing greater action and accountability for the response.

For more information, please contact:

Ika Nazaruddin
Pacto Convex
Ph 62-21 571-9973

Elis Widen
Congress Coordinator
Ph 62-21 571-9973

Ristya Paramita
Public Information Officer
Ph. 62-21-39838845/46