By: Chrissy Barnum, ACTION Intern
T-3 days until the 19th International AIDS Conference begins on July 23rd, marking the start of a week-long event greatly anticipated by those dedicated to creating an AIDS free world.
For me, AIDS 2012 is the highlight of the summer. The International AIDS Society predicts that over 20,000 delegates will be attending the conference from over 200 countries. HIV/AIDS researchers, doctors, nurses, activists, individuals affected by AIDS, professors, heads of state, civil society organizations, and others dedicated to alleviating the burden of AIDS will have the opportunity to share information and ideas. Enormously influential international figures like Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Philanthropist Bill Gates, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and more will be in attendance to voice their commitment to the end of AIDS.
For ACTION, this is a unique chance to raise the profile of tuberculosis and its relevance in the fight to end AIDS. I’m excited to help support ACTION’s role at the IAC, including numerous sessions open to the public and our ACTION booth (#652) in the conference’s Global Village.
One of the events I’m looking most forward to is the We Can End AIDS Mobilization for Economic Justice and Human Rights, which is taking place on Tuesday, July 24th. The mobilization is a call to action demanding the end of policies that threaten AIDS control, an increase in access to reproductive health, needle exchange programs, and other services, and a global end to AIDS-related stigma and discrimination. ACTION will be there and we hope you’ll join us in making some noise on behalf of the millions of people worldwide affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
For months, I’ve been eagerly anticipated the arrival of the AIDS 2012 Conference. I think it’s going to be everything the HIV/AIDS activist community has hoped for—a turning of the tide in the fight against HIV/AIDS, bringing us that much closer to a world free of HIV-TB co-infection and AIDS-related deaths.