February 26, 1997

Is Bigger Better for Retrovirus Conference?

JAMA. 1997;277(8):616-617. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540320018009

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ANYONE who's ever been to the International Conference on AIDS knows the meeting can be as much a pharmaceutical marketing platform and media carnival as it is a forum for new scientific and clinical data.

Yet the thousands who attend the colossal conference, now held biennially, seem to lace up their running shoes as if they're about to embark on an endurance race, fully accepting the multitude of simultaneous scientific presentations, numerous pharmaceutical company— sponsored symposia, and walking, talking condoms as part of the scenery.

So it's no surprise that scientists and physicians who study the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and treat patients with AIDS would like a more intimate meeting environment where they could discuss critical new data and treatment options without all the hoopla and distractions.

New Appeal  For a few years, at least, the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections served as such a venue. The meeting