The Road to AIDS 2012 Leads to More of the Same
November 7, 2011
The Road to AIDS 2012 town hall meeting was held last Thursday at FHI 360 Conference Center in Dupont Circle. The meeting brought together a mixture of leaders and community members to discuss the state of HIV today and what is expected out of the upcoming International AIDS Conference in July 2012. Similar to many other town halls, community discussions, and leadership meetings this lackluster gathering revisited many of the same issues that always come up and introduced very few action steps.
The panel introduction, moderated by A. Toni Young, Executive Director of Community Education Group, was an informative start to a conversation that is crucial to building support around the conference. The diverse panel of leaders presented the highlights and continuing challenges surrounding the disease, stigma, resources, and funding. Ebony Johnson, U.S./Global Liaison for Women's Networking Zone, spoke about the importance of keeping women involved in the discussion about HIV. "We need a holistic response. Women cannot be compartmentalized. We need to get women as sex workers, as drug users, as care givers, as mothers, and women living with HIV involved. We need to make sure that women have a voice." Phil Wilson CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, Dr. Greg Pappas of HAHSTA, and Jeff Crowley, outgoing director of ONAP were also present on stage to give their perspectives on this disease 30 years later.
The agenda for the town hall was very structured and thoughtful (there was even a worksheet provided on how to prepare testimony). The time for panelists and audience members to speak was planned to be equal. However, the meeting leaned more towards the experts having their say and the audience members rushing through their comments. (Unfortunately, this is a very common pattern for town hall meetings.) There was very little dialog between panelist and the audience and hardly any solutions being offered. Perhaps, conclusions and action steps will be revealed at the conclusion of the tour.
The Road to AIDS 2012 may very well be a long, tedious, and too familiar. If it's coming to your town soon, show up and speak up.
This article was provided by TheBody.
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