August 1, 2012
If you can be moved by carefully chosen words, focused on strategies for change, that elevate human rights with the dignity they deserve, then take time to watch some of the webcasts from the meeting.
This conference has developed the highest profile for public speeches on policy and most sessions are online.
More than 80 sessions are available online. Most vary from 1-2 hours for sessions and from 5 to 30 minutes for individual speeches. When available, IAS webcast links are to the individual talk (rather than to the whole session which occurs for Kaiser Foundation webcasts).
Here are links to a few highlights.
The auditorium was filled for this diverse and moving programme that included the Gay Mens Choir (Washington) and 24 year old Annah Sango from Zimbabwe talking about her hopes as an HIV positive woman.
Also, Jim Yong Kim, current president of the World Bank (and the first to address the AIDS conference) and former director of HIV/AIDS department at the WHO, talks about why an end to AIDS should be more a reality now than "3×5" was in 2002, and how the World Bank has a commitment to ending AIDS and poverty.
When speaking about her 2008 Nobel laureate for medicine for her role in discovering HIV, this virologist, advocate and IAS president for the next year, said "it does not belong to me but to all of us". (Difficult to imagine this from Robert Gallo).Outlining priorities for the next year, she made it clear that we already have the scientific understanding to end AIDS:
"As a scientist, in 2012, it is unacceptable that more than 300,000 babies are born HIV infected each year when we have had, since the 1990s, the tools to prevent mother to child transmission; that risk reduction strategies including needle exchange programmes are not implemented everywhere when we know this is one of the most effective scientific interventions to prevent HIV infection in IV drug users; and that intellectual property rights undermine access to high quality medicines and diagnostic tools in resource limited settings".
Plain-speaking assertion that continued treatment roll-out is both achievable and affordable from one of the key movers behind price reductions for first and second-line ART.
HIV positive US activist, highlighting the complexity of HIV healthcare in the US where young gay men, especially if they are black, continue to have some of the highest rates of new infections and that their lives can still be cut short: 60% of black MSM in the US are likely to be HIV positive by age 40.
[Talking over a protest against US trans-pacific trade deals that limit access to generic drugs]: "What would an AIDS conference be without a little protesting? Part of the reason we have come as far as we have is because so many people all over the world have not been satisfied that we have done enough, and I am here to set a goal for a generation that is free of AIDS."
An essential talk to understand the changing US political approach to HIV, notably distinct from an "emergency" response (the "E" in PEPFAR). "If we want to save more lives we have to go where the virus is [...] And that means science should guide our efforts". Both political and personal. (78 minutes into the Turning the Tide session on 23 July).
"Women with HIV have come a long way, from being zero -- lower than trash to having seats at the table -- we had to earn our place [...] We have fought for this but also salute those people who have helped open doors ... We did not ask to be the face of HIV, but 60% of HIV positive people in Africa are women. Women are 80% of care providers -- doctors, nurses and counsellors -- grandmothers and mothers and sisters and people leaving school to care for our dying relatives."
In a session of on women in leadership that included a video message of support from Aung San Suu Kyi and an address by Laura Bush, Rolake, 50 minutes in, is the one not to miss.