NAPWA at IAC 2012
August 12, 2012
Satellite sessions began at 9:00 in the Washington Convention Center, just as NAPWA and the NAMES Project began the Quilt opening ceremony a mile away on the Mall. By late afternoon, long lines were forming for the Opening Plenary Session. Doors opened at 5:30 for the eagerly anticipated 7:00 ceremony -- eagerly, because Conference delegates hoped to hear what no Conference delegates had ever heard: "We've reached a point where the the goal of an AIDS-free word -- once a far-off dream -- is now within sight." Those were the words of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, closing the Plenary.
All the speakers agreed: we have the medical and scientific tools to end the epidemic. The challenge, now, is to change the world so the tools can work. Why, Ana Sango of Zimbabwe asked, are women still excluded? Marginalizing women puts them at risk. UNAIDS head Michel Sidibé and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke about the need to deal with structural obstacles to controlling the epidemic: poverty, violence against women, homophobia, inadequate housing, and the isolation of people living with HIV. Congresswoman Barbara Lee continued the thoughts she had shared with us at the morning's Quilt ceremony, spoke about America's epidemic, disproportionately impacting Americans of color, and the resources and hard-headed targeting of interventions and resources to turn the tide.
We began to realize something remarkable: the nineteenth International AIDS Conference would be the first where advances HIV science would not take center stage. We still need a vaccine and a cure, but we have the tools to end the spread of HIV. This nineteenth IAC would be about the challenges of picking them up and using them.
This article was provided by National Association of People With AIDS.
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