Montréal is considered Canada’s research capital. Ranking first in Canada for financial investment in university research, Montréal is home to the largest number of research centres in the country. It also offers the most competitive operating costs among the 20 largest cities in Canada and the United States.
Our culture of research is just one of the reasons that the International AIDS Society — the world's largest association of HIV professionals — has selected Montréal as the host city for their next international conference.
Earlier this week, the International AIDS Society announced that the 24th International AIDS Conference (known informally as “AIDS 2022”) will take place in Montréal from July 29 through August 2, 2022, with pre-conference events taking place July 27-28. Montréal’s convention centre, the iconic Palais des congrès de Montréal, played an instrumental role in securing the event and will play host to the thousands of attendees.
The conference will follow a modern hybrid model, one that combines in-person and virtual components to ensure accessibility for all who wish to attend. Attendees will include HIV scientists, health researchers, policy makers, community support workers, and activists.
Why a conference for AIDS?
Over the past four decades, an estimated 25-35 million people have died from AIDS. These days, the HIV/AIDS pandemic certainly makes fewer headlines, and that’s largely because the immune disease has evolved to become a manageable health condition for many HIV+ individuals. Millions of people are living with the disease, so not only is HIV prevention and treatment still imperative, but the relevance for information exchange is still vital.
AIDS 2022 is not just about HIV/AIDS — it’s about human health. The lessons acquired within decades of research from the global HIV community have been applied to other pandemic responses, most notably to the management and interventions regarding COVID. A conference such as AIDS 2022 is, of course, about the health and wellbeing of those affected by the HIV pandemic — but it’s also about collective global health.
Yes, this conference is a big deal
In terms of attendance, the event could be the fifth largest international conference in the history of the Palais since it opened in 1983. This conference should generate 39,000 hotel room nights and an estimated $20.7+ M in tourism spending.
How many attendees will be physically present? With COVID vaccination rates increasing, we’re optimistic that by next summer we can be gathering in pre-COVID numbers. As a city we will prepare ourselves for thousands and thousands of attendees visiting Montréal.
Here are some words from Tourisme Montréal CEO Yves Lalumière:
“The announcement of the return of the International AIDS Conference to Montréal, after the historic 1989 edition, is the result of a coordinated collaboration between several partners. The coming of this event, which reaffirms the reputation of our city as a university research and innovation environment, will generate important scientific, social, and economic impacts for the revival of the business tourism sector. The scale of this conference will help to ensure that Montréal remains the capital of international events in America.”
A history of hosting
Notably, this will be the second time that Montréal has hosted the prominent conference. In June of 1989, over 10,000 attendees gathered in the city for the 5th International AIDS Conference. An estimated 300 HIV activists protested during the opening ceremony to demand more government involvement and to increase awareness about the human and social realities of AIDS. This historic event received widespread national and international media attention, and still remains engraved in the collective memory for having given people living with HIV an outlet to voice their concerns.
Event: 24th International AIDS Conference
Venue: Palais des congrès de Montréal (Montréal’s conference centre)
Dates: 27 July – 2 August 2022