SEA-AIDS, March 17, 1996
are a few practical suggestions regarding the 1997 Manila conference.
few of us come to conferences to acquire new technical knowledge. We come to do business and learn from each other's experience through small
group discussions. Therefore, the conference could be set up explicitly in such a way that time and space is available for
many of us waste inordinate amounts of time trying to link up with
each other. To facilitate contacts, I propose that all participants be given
a private e-mail address for the duration of the conference. These accounts
would be accessible through dial-in from laptops, and from a computer room.
Maybe a computer firm would be interested in providing the service free of charge, including support for beginners?
the organizers could set up cyber-sessions, during which participants and
people from anywhere in the world could use "chat" technology to
interact, and raise questions with moderators about the
"hot" issues of the conference.
South-East Asia HIV/AIDS Project
I am very supportive of the excellent suggestions made by Jean-Louis
Lamboray, UNAIDS South-East Asia HIV/AIDS Project, on ways to increase
communication during the 1997 AIDS Conference in Manila.
While many of us are becoming more comfortable with electronic communication
and recognize the benefits of using the Internet to link with other people
and organizations, the activity is not yet widely available in the developing
world. The four main factors that limit access to electronic communication
too few companies offering Internet access;
too high a cost for computer, higher speed modem, and monthly access fee;
extensive reliance on English language; and
reluctance to experiment with new technology.
If free market forces are allowed to prevail, factors 1 and 2 will be solved
over time. Open competition brings prices down to affordable levels, as has
occurred with radios, televisions, cameras, VCRs and the like. Factor 3 can be
partially solved by using English translation, grammar and spelling software to
compose messages. It is Factor 4, however, that will be helped most by the
thoughtful suggestions of Jean-Louis Lamboray. Conference participants would be
exposed, in a friendly and supportive environment, to new technology, and
encouraged to communicate over short distances with friends and colleagues. Once
they feel comfortable with this activity, then the next step of international
communication will come easier.
Please give full consideration to Lamboray's forward thinking on ways to promote
electronic information exchange.