The conclusion to the Female in Evolution Symposium.
Professor David Cooper AO FAA is one of the world’s best-known HIV researchers. He was recently awarded the title of Scientia Professor at UNSW and welcomed as a member of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2003. David has been the National Director of the National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (NCHECR) for over 20 years and is at the forefront of HIV research.
Hon. Justice Michael Kirby
Justice Kirby is one of Australia’s best known high court judges, a brilliant intellect, an expert on human rights and one of Australia’s “national living treasures”. Justice Kirby has received a number of honours including appointment as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1983 and as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 1991. In 1991 Justice Kirby was also awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal.
Serving as a member of the Inaugural Global Commission on AIDS of the World Health Organisation in 1988-92, in 2002 he also chaired an Expert Group convened by UNAIDS and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. In 2001-2 he was chairperson of the UNAIDS Expert Panel on HIV Testing of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. Since 2004 he has been a member of the UNAIDS Global Reference Panel on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. Famously, his recreation is work.
Associate Professor Juliet Richters has worked for over 20 years in academic research in sexual health and sexology, including HIV prevention.
During that time she has been a principal investigator on ten research projects and published more than 64 peer-reviewed journal articles. Richters is committed to making academic knowledge about sexual behavior available to the general public and was co-author of Doing It Down Under: The Sexual Lives of Australians.
Professor Daniel Tarantola's career includes being instrumental in the foundation of the world-renowned Medecins Sans Frontieres and the first doctor employed in the field for this organisation.
Also, as a senior policy advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a close collaborator of the late, great Jonathan Mann, a senior associate at the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Centre for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and now Professor of Health and Human Rights at UNSW.
David Cooper explains that prevention has not been effective strategy against HIV/AIDS in the developing world because of the lack of access to prevention strategies such as information and tools like condoms.
Cultural context in many countries of the developing world also serves as an obstacle to prevention's success.
Daniel Tarantola discusses the controversial research on male circumcision preventing the spread of HIV. Although he names a few factors -- the "brain drain," poor health care -- as responsible for the "tragedy in Africa," Tarantola remains open to new solutions to prevent HIV.
Hans Rosling discusses HIV statistics:
I would also point out that there is a very effective cure for HIV - don't get it in the first place. Don't use injection drugs and don't have unprotected sex. HIV is a very powerful evolutionary selection pressure, selecting for the people smart enough to not contract the disease. History is filled with examples of peoples who became dominate because they used their brains to control disease. The British systematically vaccinated the entire population against small pox and figured out that food born illness was eliminated by boiling food - and so began the largest empire in history. When the British finally failed in Panama and Africa, the Americans stepped in and figured out how to control malaria. The smart cultures that know how to prevent HIV transmissions and or are wealthy enough to control the disease are just the latest beneficiaries of natural selection (on both the individual and whole cultural [aka memeplex} levels of selection).