After more than two years of intensive planning and preparation, Melbourne will welcome thousands of delegates in just under a month for the highly anticipated 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014).

melbourne-convexhcentreTaking place between 20 – 25 July at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), AIDS 2014 will be the largest health and development conference ever hosted in Australia and is estimated to be worth approximately $80 million to the Victorian state economy.

Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), Karen Bolinger said that in addition to economic legacies, AIDS 2014 would also play a major role in driving the knowledge economy and put Melbourne firmly in the international spotlight.

melbourne downtown“The International AIDS Society announced this week that Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States and Founder of the Clinton Foundation, along with artist and activist Sir Bob Geldof, will be among the high-level speakers at AIDS 2014,” Ms Bolinger said.

“The conference will also attract doctors, researchers, people living with HIV, politicians and philanthropists from across the globe, all with one goal in mind – to end the HIV epidemic.

“Securing AIDS 2014 for Melbourne in 2011 was an incredible team effort - a city, state and nation-wide collaboration - just like a mini Olympic bid.

“MCB partnered with the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine and gained significant support from MCEC; Tourism Victoria; the Victorian Department of Health; the City of Melbourne; and Local Co-Chair for AIDS 2014, Head Department of Infectious Diseases Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Co-head Centre for Biomedical Research Burnet Institute and Club Melbourne Ambassador Professor Sharon Lewin, to mount the successful bid.”

Of the international conferences MCB has secured for MCEC since the new venue opened in July 2009, 69 per cent are in the health, medical and scientific sectors.

“At AIDS 2014 there will be 17 speakers from Melbourne’s esteemed research institutes, including Club Melbourne Ambassadors Professor Lewin; Sir Gustav Nossal, Patron of the Nossal Institute for Global Health; and Peter Doherty, a Nobel Prize winner and Patron of the Peter Doherty Institute, due to open later this year.

“They are all world-leaders in immunology and they’re right here in Melbourne.”