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European research commemorates World AIDS Day

Brussels, 1 December 2010

European research commemorates World AIDS Day

Each year, World AIDS Day is celebrated on 1 December around the world, to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, show solidarity with people affected by HIV and celebrate the progress made in treatment and prevention. To commemorate this day, the Directorate-General for Research of the European Commission  has collaborated with the AIDS Foundation East-West (AFEW) and photographer David Gillanders to bring the exhibition “The Neglected” to the Berlaymont building in Brussels, headquarters of the European Commission.

The opening ceremony will take place on Wednesday 1 December at 5:30 pm, with a speech by Ms Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, followed by a cocktail reception. Journalists are welcome to attend this opening ceremony (Berlaymont Building, first floor hall).  

The exhibition will be displayed until 16 December. It consists of 38 black and white photographs taken in Ukraine and Russia, which illustrate in a striking way the harsh reality of the most vulnerable and affected people living with HIV/AIDS or at risk of infection in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.


In 2009, an estimated 33.3 million people were living with HIV worldwide, including 2.5 million children under 15. About 2.6 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 1.8 million people died from AIDS related causes¹. The epidemic appears to have stabilised in most regions, although prevalence continues to increase in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with one of the fastest growing epidemics in the world.

The EU aims to tackle HIV/AIDS through a coordinated approach across health, development and research policies. The European Union supports action against HIV/AIDS in developing countries notably through its €100 million a year contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

HIV/AIDS research is an important pillar of the European Commission’s activities. The overall aim is to structure and integrate European research by creating a closepartnership between European scientists and research teams from disease-endemic countries, as well as between industrial and public sector research. EU-funded research includes new therapeutic and preventive strategies against HIV/AIDS, from early discovery to clinical testing of new drugs and therapeutic approaches, microbicides and vaccine candidates.

For instance, the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) supported 41 EU projects for aids research, with a total EU contribution of €123 million. Since 2007, the current Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) has funded over 15 projects funded with a total EU contribution of €82 million.

Also, the European Commission is financing capacity building and advanced clinical trials in Sub-Saharan Africa through the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). The EDCTP is financed with €200 million from the European Commission (FP6) and €200 million from the participating countries. To date, EDCTP has funded 142 projects of about €269 million, which involve 136 institutions from 28 sub-Saharan countries and 42 institutions from 16 European countries.

More information:

  1. About the event
  2. About EU research in the field of infectious diseases

Berlaymont Building
First Floor Hall
Rue de la Loi, 200
1040 Brussels

Sophie Levy
Information & Communication Officer
European Commission, DG Research
Brussels, Belgium
Tel. +32 2 29 97 815                                                                                                    


1. Source: UNAIDS, Report on the Global AIDS Epidemics, 2010

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