Welcome from the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee
Nine years have passed since the disastrous earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people in 1995, and Kobe is now ready to host the 7th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) from July 1 to 5, 2005, to welcome its delegates and send a message of hope and solidarity to our region and the world.

HIV epidemic, present through the Asian-Pacific region, is on the verge of explosive expansion. Even though the history of the epidemic is relatively young in the region, it has hit susceptible populations hard, and the impact is evident. The potential of HIV becoming more widespread among youth remains a serious concern, and the actions taken now will likely determine the future course of the epidemic in the region.

The goals of the 7th ICAAP, following the tradition of past ICAAP, are to increase the understanding of the epidemic and related issues in the region, share the lessons and hopes learned, and gain insights applicable to future efforts. Under the theme "Bridging Science and Community", the Congress, encouraging a greater involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS and other affected communities, will present the most recent achievements in science and community work and will encompass efforts and activities related to prevention, care and treatment at all levels.

The 7th ICAAP will be held in 2005, the year by which the Declaration of Commitment of the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001 expects member states to report significant progress in implementing strategies with respect to their national goals, and the year when the results of the "Treat 3 Million by 2005" (3 by 5) Initiative of WHO/UNAIDS will be first evaluated. We are privileged to invite delegates from throughout the region and the world to share their wisdom and to strengthen our solidarity in the fight against HIV/AIDS in what is sure to be a milestone year of global efforts.

Tadamitsu Kishimoto
Chair, the 7th ICAAP Organizing Committee