AIDS is far from over. This is the bracing and scary conclusion of the world’s largest global conference on HIV and AIDS (in fact on any global health issue), the 22nd International AIDS conference, held last week in Amsterdam. Here 16,000 HIV scientists, policy-makers, community leaders, donors and activists of all stripes joined hands — sometimes uneasily — to share new research, lessons learned, promises, hopes and the cold reality of disappointing clinical research findings. After more than 30 years, thousands of clinical trials and billions of dollars invested, there is still no "cure" for HIV, nor a vaccine. The idea in science that every failure is a step closer to success is of no immediate consolation. It was a dizzying array of plenaries, special sessions, preconferences, workshops, "global village" presentations and "poster sessions", youth programmes, report launches, awards, marches and plenty of "corridor" discussion spiced with celebrity appearances: Charlize Theron, ...

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