For Immediate Release
Friday, February 3, 2017
Conference Media Relations:
For the CROI Foundation:
Constance A. Benson, MD
For the IAS-USA:
Donna M. Jacobsen
CROI Organizers Oppose Travel Restrictions Based On Religion Or Country Of Origin
On Friday January 27, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order that temporarily bans travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. We are keenly aware that this ban could have an impact on some scientists and researchers who are planning to attend the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle starting on February 13.
CROI and the International AIDS Society-USA (IAS-USA) strongly oppose arbitrary travel restrictions based solely on religion or national origin; a statement to this effect was immediately posted on the www.CROIconference.org and www.IAS-USA.org websites. "These restrictions threaten to interrupt the exchange of scientific research information that is vital to the global response to health threats such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, and many other infectious disease. As a consequence, the restrictions endanger rather than protect the health and wellbeing of Americans and people all over the world. " said Susan Buchbinder, MD, Director of the Bridge program at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Chair of the 2017 CROI.
CROI is the preeminent annual scientific research conference on HIV. It will bring together almost 4000 scientists, researchers, clinicians, students, and others working in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and other related diseases. This is an international meeting, with almost half of the delegates attending from countries outside the U.S.
"Beyond the immediate impact on individuals directly affected by the ban, there is serious reason for concern that the policy will dissuade other scientists and researchers from travelling to the U.S. and sharing their work with colleagues here. Such a response to the U.S. action could severely damage our global leadership in science and medicine" said Judith S. Currier, MD, Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Vice-Chair of CROI 2017.
We are aware that discussions have ensued suggesting boycotts of scientific meetings in the U.S., but not of any organized boycott against CROI. CROI has been an international conference since its inception and is a global model of collaborative science. We have made it clear that delegates from every part of the world, including researchers and clinicians from the countries named in the presidential order, are welcome at CROI. "We understand the desire to boycott, but believe that the best form of resistance to this ban is not to abstain from scientific exchange, but to continue to participate. We urge the international scientific, public health and advocacy delegates to come to Seattle and stand with us against discrimination by continuing to collaborate with and care for all people, regardless of religious beliefs, national origin, or any other personal characteristic including HIV status, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity" said Constance A. Benson, MD, Professor of Medicine and President of the CROI Foundation.
"We look forward to welcoming delegates from around the world to CROI to share the latest research results, important developments, and best scientific methods in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases. CROI remains a global model of collaborative science and the premier international venue for bridging basic and clinical investigation to clinical practice in the field of HIV and related viruses," Dr Buchbinder said.
About CROI and IAS-USA
The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) was established in 1993 to provide a forum for basic scientists and clinical investigators to present, discuss, and critique their investigations into the epidemiology and biology of human retroviruses and associated diseases. The synergy of basic science and clinical investigation has been a major contributor to the success of the meeting. CROI, operated under the CROI Foundation as a 501© (3) not for profit organization, is the preeminent HIV research meeting in the world and attracts more than 4,000 HIV/AIDS research leaders internationally. The goal of the conference is to provide a forum for researchers to translate their laboratory and clinical findings into tangible progress against the HIV pandemic. CROI has facilitated the presentation of important discoveries in the field, thereby ultimately accelerating progress in HIV/AIDS research.
The mission of the International Antiviral Society–USA (IAS–USA) is to improve the prevention, treatment, care, and quality of life for people with or at risk of HIV, hepatitis C virus, or other viral infections through high-quality, relevant, balanced, and needs-oriented education and information for practitioners and scientists who are actively involved in medical care and research. The is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit professional education organization. The IAS–USA partners with the CROI Foundation to organize CROI.
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