While the 1990s were still very much characterised by the HIV virus which has resulted in some 35 million deaths to date, the more effective treatment available for those infected by HIV has meant that the illness has not been in the news so much since the turn of the century. The fact that such major progress has been made in medicine over the past years, does, however, conceal the fact that, even today, up to 25% of the population in some African states is infected with HIV and, in Europe alone, more than 35,000 people die of AIDS each year.
The European AIDS Clinical Society deals with the HIV virus and AIDS, and its members meet up for a major congress every two years. In 2019, this major event was staged at the Congress Center Basel (CCB) from 6 to 9 November. A total of 3200 experts from precisely 100 different countries took part and occupied all the rooms at the CCB as well as taking over the Event Hall for their plenary sessions. The congress slogan of “Every Action Counts” made it clear that AIDS still remains an urgent problem – not least in Eastern Europe. For this reason, it was highly gratifying that a large number of young experts from the countries of Eastern Europe attended the events.
Awards, networking and e-Posters
“The opening session, which included the presentation of awards, marked an initial highlight after two years of intensive preparation work by the organisation committee. The dynamics of this opening made its mark on the entire congress”, says Manuel Battegay, A “strong signal of the Basel spirit” is the way in which the co-chairman of the congress described the faculty evening in the Basel City Hall, which was attended by all the chairpersons, speakers and main organisers in the parliamentary chamber in the presence of Lukas Engelberger, a member of the cantonal parliament.
Networking between participants enjoys a high priority at the EACS congress. Different platforms were thus provided to promote person-to-person discussions. These included breakfast meetings and social events in the evening. The congress was accompanied by an e-poster exhibition, which was very well received, not least on account of its sustainability.
The four-day event ranks amongst the biggest occasions that the CCB was able to accompany last year. The CCB is continuing with its successful series of major international events that have made their way to Basel. The fact that organisations from the medical sector, in particular, opt for Basel is due among other things to the concentration of research and business in the life sciences sector here.
During the EACS Congress, the city expressed its pride at being able to host such internationally renowned events by putting up flags along Clarastrasse and past Messe Basel, right up to the Basel Badischer Bahnhof railway station. “Basel is a top destination for congresses and provides them with intensive support. I am quite sure that this and similar congresses will have a sustained impact”, says Manuel Battegay in drawing a positive conclusion.
Impressions of EACS 2019