The International AIDS Conference will be here in a little more than one month from now. It will be one of the biggest conferences to come through the District. In fact, the Washington Business Journal predicts it will generate about $33 million. But you don't need millions of dollars to attend the conference. This conference is being planned to include every budget so that you can get involved and stay there. Here's a list of some no-cost and low-cost activities in and around the IAC 2012.
- The Global Village Walter Washington Convention Center. July 23-27 -- an open space for advocates and individuals alike to gather, exchange ideas, and make presentations. Here is where you will see the theme "Turning the Tide Together" in action. The Village will have panel discussions, opportunities for Q &A, networking zones, a main stage for presentations, and a youth pavilion. The Global Village is free and open to the public. No registration required. Click here to learn more about it.
- Keep the Promise March -- Sunday, July 22 at 2 p.m. at the Washington Monument. Free. AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Lifebeat, IMPACT and The Washington Blade are sponsoring this march demanding that world leaders keep AIDS fight for treatment, access to care, and prevention efforts. Click here to read more about it. More information to come in this column later.
- We Can End AIDS Human Rights and Harm Reduction Rally. Tuesday, July 24 at 12 noon. Five marches (Yes five. That's not a typo) will begin during the conference lunch break and will converge on Lafayette Park (across the street from the White House). This intense march will focus on pushing policy makers to finally use the science, resources, and tools that are available to end the epidemic. Click here to read more about it and to sign up. More information to come in this column later.
- Return to Lisner: A Forum on HIV/AIDS. Tuesday, July 24 at 7 p.m.. Lisner Auditorium 730 21st St., NW. Whitman-Walker Health presents this forum nearly 30 years after the first forum on AIDS was held in D.C. at the very same location. Guest speakers include Jeanne White Ginder (mother of Ryan White), Cornelius Baker (PACHA), and Regan Hoffman (Editor-in-chief POZ Magazine). This event is free but you must register and bring a printout of your registration. Click here to find out more information.
- Latino/Hispanic HIV Community Research Forum: Creando Una Red Para Un Futuro Sin VIH/SIDA. Sunday, July 22 from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Renaissance Hotel, Washington D.C. Free. A forum will feature presentations by top U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS researchers, panel sessions, and roundtable discussions. Online registration is required. Click here for more information.
- Latino Caribbean Diaspora Collaborative (LCDC) Community in the Global Village. Sunday, July 22 - Friday, July 27 Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Free. The LCDC will present a program filled with educational, cultural, social, scientific, and networking opportunities in the form of panels, posters, speaker presentations, films, special performances and interactive displays -- all of which are important to our communities. No registration is necessary. Click here for more information.
- The AIDS Memorial Quilt is coming back to D.C. July 21-25. Free. The NAMES Project will bring the quilt back to the National Mall in full for five days to remember the loved ones who have passed away due to complications from AIDS. The quilt will be between 8th and 14th streets. Other panels will be on display in 55 other locations around the city. Click here for more details.
- Voices of D.C. Choir is seeking volunteers for a choir that will perform during the IAC. They will perform on July 24 and 26 during the lunch break. Rehearsals will be June 18, June 25, July 9, July 16 and dress rehearsal on July 21. If you want more information, contact Regina Jefferson at (202) 671-5063.
- The Normal Heart. Now through July 29. Kreeger Theater at Arena Stage 1101 Sixth St., SW. $40 and up. Larry Kramer's Tony Award-winning stage production about a "mysterious disease" ravaging New York's gay community in the early 1980s. More information on the play coming soon to this column. Click here for ticket information.
- Gay Men's Health Summit. July 20 and 21. George Washington University. $85. Join The D.C. Center, National Coalition for LGBT Health, Us Helping Us, and Whitman-Walker Health for two days packed with information about health and social issues. Click here for more information.
So what if you cannot make it to D.C. at all and you still want to participate. Host a conference HUB in your community. If you want to be an activist, you have to act, right? A conference hub is a mini-conference that is held wherever you are. When you register, you can have access to workshop and training materials, selected recorded video clips from the D.C. conference, and much more. The best part is you don't have to leave your community. For more information or to apply for a hub, click here.
Come back and visit this page, as more information on free and low-cost events will be updated upon release. Are you ready for AIDS 2012?