Item 1055 - Address at the Second International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment : From Science to Action: Challenges in Managing AID

Identity area

Reference code

ZA COM MR-S-1055


Address at the Second International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment : From Science to Action: Challenges in Managing AID


  • 2003-07-14 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

Context area

Name of creator

(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

Biographical history

Archival history

Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Second International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment , 13-16 July 2003

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area



I wish to thank the organizers for inviting me to this prestigious conference on the advances in HIV science and treatment.

Scientific knowledge is a vital prerequisite for an efficient response to this global crisis we are facing. Governments and organizations all over the world are in desperate need of valid and reliable information to plan their responses to the epidemic.

We need to acknowledge and salute the great efforts that have already been undertaken to better understand the virus and its implications on our lives. Science has set the ground to improved prevention and care.

We now know more about the virus; we understand more about the natural history of the disease, from infection to death.

Because of scientific research we now know more about preventive strategies that work, such as use of condoms for men and women, use of sterile needles, sterile medical equipment and safe blood supplies.

We know that the use of anti-retroviral therapy combined with good advice on infant feeding does prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child.

Twenty years ago, we had no knowledge of how to reduce replication of the virus. AIDS patients did not know about viral load and CD4 cell counts. Today, they form part of the vocabulary of those who live with the disease. Thanks to the work you scientists have done.

Today we even have effective treatment and care.

Although we are still a long way from finding an effective vaccine against HIV/AIDS, several countries have reached the stage of testing vaccines against HIV. Scientists are conducting research to give women better control methods for preventing HIV infections.

We need to encourage these efforts.

Even as we make these great advances in our scientific knowledge and understanding, the biggest challenge still lies ahead of us. It is to turn the knowledge into efficient action.

How should we respond to the severity of the HIV/AIDS pandemic?

Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 60 million people have contracted HIV/AIDS.

20 million have died and more than 40 million are currently living with HIV/AIDS.

Most of these people are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. This region has very little financial, human and technological infrastructure to manage the disease and its impact on all social sectors.

We need to ask: why does it seem that we know so much and do so little? What prevents us from more urgently translating this knowledge into action? How can we make the millions living with HIV/AIDS benefit from science more directly?

To effectively overcome the HIV/AIDS challenge, political will becomes a critical ingredient. At a national level, this is demonstrated through governments that ensure that there is a policy, strategic plan and scientific guidelines for managing the pandemic. This must be accompanied by public recognition that AIDS is a problem which deserves priority attention. It must also be coupled with appropriate allocation of human, financial and physical resources to manage the epidemic.

The role of scientific knowledge is to ensure that decisions are made based on fact and knowledge rather than belief, myth and superstition.

At a global level, there is the need to pool resources and use our collective effort to share new scientific knowledge and turn it into action.

To be able to achieve equitable access to research across the globe, more collaborative research should be undertaken across different sectors such as private business, universities and other research institutions.

The severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic requires us all to partner so that we are able to tackle it jointly. Bringing the different research components together enables us to make the impact that we should. This goes hand in hand with the allocation of funds especially to the very poorly resourced areas so they are able to manage the disease.

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is well placed to support initiatives in countries, ravaged by a disease that threatens their economic and social stability.

Scientists do not only play a vital role in generating knowledge. It is also their responsibility to popularise and analyse possibilities for the implementation of their findings. Every research project should be guided by a strategy of how its findings are going to be disseminated and what the implications for future actions are.

Research must benefit all stakeholders involved in the HIV/AIDS arena so they are able to absorb the knowledge and use it. In this sense, the focus for research should not be restricted to medical issues but include the social factors and the mutual interrelation between the two areas. Research should inform and benefit every component of society from government level to the civil society. This is the challenge posed to scientists today.

Research must improve our knowledge and understanding of a disease that has proven to be a threat to humanity, and lead to action in combating it.

With these words I wish you a very successful conference. I hope it leads to fruitful discussion, debate and a path to action.

I thank you.

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 25/02/09 by Razia Saleh




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places