AIDS Action Weekly Update Special Edition
Report From the HIV Prevention Leadership Summit
Atlanta, Georgia, June 16-19, 2004
June 25, 2004
The Plenary Experience
Mobilizing HIV and STD Prevention Activities for Gay Men
Serving as moderator, Dr. Valdisseri called the HIV epidemic within the population of men who have sex with men "a complicated topic." The latest outbreak of HIV is probably the result of a combination of factors, including "treatment optimism" and drug use, particularly the use of crystal methamphetamine, he stated. Consequently, Dr. Valdisseri explained, "Addressing HIV requires an integrated approach."
The program that followed Dr. Valdisseri's opening remarks included presentations by five men from diverse ethnicities, backgrounds and regions. Collectively, they covered many of the dominant points that had run through the summit: For instance, thirty years into the epidemic, stigma still exists -- and for some populations, this stigma intersects in devastating ways with prejudice related to immigration, and socio-economic status. In the third decade of the U.S. epidemic, communities are still finding it difficult to talk comprehensively about sex and effective prevention in an open, honest and inclusive way. In the third decade, there is competition for the meager resources committed to domestic HIV prevention efforts. In the third decade, some communities are all but forgotten in planning for HIV prevention, care and treatment.
But also in the third decade of the epidemic, thousands of people assembled at HPLS to confront these issues head on; to listen carefully, think critically, speak out confidently and respond compassionately so, as one community member put it, there may not have to be another HIV prevention summit/conference in the next decade.
A Webcast of this plenary is available at www.kaisernetwork.org/health_cast/hcast_index.cfm?display=detailandhc=1182.
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council. It is a part of the publication AIDS Action Weekly Update.