The Davidson professor is blogging this week from the 28th International AIDS Conference, which he reports is full of energy and optimism. Also below, comments from Davidsonian Paige Baker, who’s blogging from Vienna on AIDS.gov.
By CATHRYN WESTRA
Davidson College biology professor David Wessner flew to Vienna, Austria, earlier this week to join nearly 25,000 others from around the world at the 28th International AIDS Conference. But we Davidsonians don’t have to wait until he returns for a report: He’s been Tweeting and blogging regularly, saying in recent posts that he’s found an “energy and excitement” and a sense of optimism unlike any he has witnessed in AIDS conferences past.
According to the International AIDS Society, the conference is “the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV, and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to asses where we are, evaluate scientific developments and lessons learned and chart a course forward.”
Dr. Wessner specializes in the biology of HIV and AIDS, and teaches a seminar in the topic to upper-level students at the college. Along with his students, Dave maintains a blog called “The Aids Pandemic” that follows developments in the field. He’s using that blog to keep us updated with day-to-day highlights of the conference.
So far, Dr. Wessner has noted that the Vienna conference opened fervently with energy, enthusiasm, and optimism. Attendees from politicians to scientists to activists are passionately united in the common goal to end the AIDS pandemic, he writes.
[The conference already has seen a variety of announcements, including one Tuesday about promising new measures that could help slow the spread of AIDS.]
In addition to being an observer, Dr. Wessner is actively participating through presentations of work completed by Davidson students from his seminar.
Among others presenting at the conference are former President Bill Clinton, addressing the issue of affordable treatment options, and musician Annie Lennox, who is performing in support of human rights. The event is also addressing problems contributing to the spread of AIDS, such as the sex trade.
The International AIDS conference began on Sunday, July 18, and runs through Friday July 23.
We’ll also catch up with him to hear more about the conference when he returns.
For more information about the conference or the International AIDS Society in general you can visit their website. Another great article on Dave and his participation can be found on the website of Davidson College.