More than 300 student doctors from 23 nations across the Asia-Pacific region will meet at Monash University’s Sunway campus in Malaysia between Wednesday 7 January and Sunday 11 January to discuss ways to engage youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Five million people are currently living with HIV and AIDS in Asia, many of whom are children infected through mother-to-child transmission.
Monash medicine graduate and co-chair of the conference organising committee Dr Alessandro Demaio said there were 400,000 HIV/AIDS related deaths in Asia in 2008.
“We are now seeing HIV/AIDS at epidemic levels in Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam and in Thailand about 43 per cent of new infections in 2005 were among women,” Dr Demaio said.
Dr Demaio said the East Asian Medical Students’ Conference would be a major capacity-building event, empowering student doctors to return to their communities as HIV/AIDS prevention ambassadors.
Monash is hosting the wholly student-organised conference in conjunction with the Asian Medical Students' Association, a non-political, non-sectarian, and non-profit student-led organisation founded in Manila in 1985.
Apart from medical students from the University’s Australian and Malaysian campuses, the conference will include representatives from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Acting Dean Professor Leon Piterman said Monash was proud to be associated with the event, highlighting its long-standing support of health professionals in neighbouring nations.
“This conference is a wonderful opportunity for our future health professionals to build networks and discuss issues that will help them continue to make a real difference,” Professor Piterman said.
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