D.C. Office Opens for International AIDS Conference 2012; Visa Questions Remain
February 28, 2011
Today the International AIDS Society announced the opening of its Washington, D.C. coordination office for the 2012 International AIDS Conference.
More than 20,000 people from 200 countries are expected to descend on the U.S. capital for AIDS 2012, as the conference was titled by IAS. The biennial convention is the world's largest gathering of people working to respond to HIV, and has an enormous role in shaping the international response to the virus.
AIDS activists in Washington, D.C. have said repeatedly that they hope the conference's placement in their city will force local leaders to take major steps to address the capital's own HIV/AIDS crisis. There's some hope this could actually happen: On Wednesday, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced the creation of a Mayor's Commission on HIV/AIDS. The commission will address ways to reduce the infection rate in the city and increase accessibility to treatment for residents living with the virus.
D.C. AIDS organizations have formed the AIDS 2012 D.C. Community Coalition to use ramped-up international attention to create substantive change in the city's epidemic.
Three percent of D.C. residents are known to be living with HIV/AIDS. Nationally, that number is just .35 percent. "For too long, D.C. leaders have been able to kick the can down the road when it comes to AIDS. We think AIDS 2010 will be an effective motivator," said Christine Campbell, coalition cochair and Housing Works' vice president for national advocacy and organizing.
There was no word in the release, however, on how IAS will ensure that all people who want to attend AIDS 2012 will be permitted into the U.S. Restrictions that make it difficult for drug users and sex workers to enter the country may prevent potential attendees from obtaining visas, threatening the efficacy of the conference.
Read the Release From the IAS
This article was provided by Housing Works. It is a part of the publication Housing Works AIDS Issues Update. Visit Housing Works' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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