November 10, 2011
Thursday marks the start of the US Conference on AIDS (USCA), which continues through Sunday in Chicago. Some 3,000 to 5,000 HIV service providers and advocates are expected to attend the gathering, which is sponsored by the National Minority AIDS Council.
This year's USCA theme is "Make Change Real: Unite. Speak. Act." The focus is on men who have sex with men, a population that continues to be disproportionately affected by HIV. Key discussion topics include the funding challenges faced by providers; the potential for pre-exposure prophylaxis as an HIV prevention tool; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Conference tracks vary according to attendees' areas of interest.
US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to deliver the opening plenary's keynote address. Other speakers include outgoing White House Office of National AIDS Policy Director Jeffrey Crowley; Dr. Julio Montaner of the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS; Elton John AIDS Foundation chair David Furnish; Bertrand Audoin, executive director of the International AIDS Society; and CNN anchor Don Lemon.
USCA will highlight the work of local service providers with two receptions on Nov. 12: at the Center on Halsted and at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Both events are open to registered conference attendees.
"It is such a pivotal time for this conference, in this place, at this time, as HIV and AIDS continue to negatively impact gay and bisexual men and people of color," said Modesto "Tico" Valle, CEO of the Center on Halsted. "There is new hope on the horizon and each one of us has a role to play in moving us forward toward a cure."
For more information, visit www.nmac.org.