This is the first AIDS conference featuring the Global Village, a place where different communities affected by this pandemic could hang out. Non-delegates as well as delegates had access to it. At 53,819 square feet, there was a little bit of everything going on inside.
Much of the conference's extensive cultural program took place here. Art groups, community groups, individual artists and singers performed daily here and on stages throughout the conference facilities. There were poetry readings, community parades, a fashion show of AIDS costumes and T-shirts, art workshops, sex worker performances and lots of dance and music. Plus, part of the AIDS Film Festival was shown here.
The conference committee hoped the Global Village would provide opportunities to explore expressions, feelings and how people could be part of the solution in living and fighting with HIV/AIDS. There were booths for many groups -- from a group for the elderly, where mostly older Thai women hung out, to a Mexican booth selling tequila, to a youth booth with a host of activities and a separate GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) booth also brimming with projects. Although this was a bustling place, few physicians or policy leaders seemed to find their way here. It was as if, in this space, there was a separate conference occuring.
Because there were so many HIV-positive people present, and many hadn't disclosed widely, no photographs of people could be taken.