At the closing ceremony, the organisers reflected upon the accomplishments and tragedy that contributed to the make-up of a conference where, according to Chris Beyrer, the president of the International AIDS Society,
“ the conference than anywhere else before where the separations betweens scientists, clinicians… and people living with HIV and activists truly went away.”.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said that the way the city had embraced Australia’s largest-ever health conference touched his heart and recounted stories involving delegates being at the receiving end of acts of kindness by Melburnians.
After Barré-Sinoussi passed on her best wishes to the first openly-gay president of the International AIDS Society, Chris Beyrer, the New Yorker thanked his colleague and Melbourne for hosting the conference and praised Australia’s response to the epidemic while also highlighting it could continue to show the way in the future.
“The whole [HIV and AIDS] movement is grateful to Melbourne, grateful to Australia and we really hope that the Melbourne Declaration is going to be a living document that is going to continue to inform our response, “ Beyrer said.
Beyrer turned his attention towards the next International AIDS Conference to be held in Durban, South Africa in 2016, the first in the sub-continent since 2000, and welcomed the first female African co-chair of the event.