The 2012 International AIDS Conference is coming to DC
On Friday morning, Mayor Vincent Gray along with the International AIDS Society announced that the 2012 XIX International AIDS Conference will be held here in Washington, DC. The dates for the conference are July 22nd to the 27th. The conference will bring more than 20,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries. It is the first one held in the United States since 1990. Mayor Gray stated, “I am excited to host this conference here in DC. It’s a chance to share best practices, exchange expertise and it’s a chance for people to get to know our city.”
The press conference unveiled the 2012 logo and listed local partners that have signed on to work on bringing this conference to life. The DC Department of Health, the Office of National AIDS Policy, and the National Institutes of Health are official local partners. The Black AIDS Institute and US Positive Women’s Network were also listed as local partners although they are based in California. Local political leaders and members of the conference committee expressed excitement about the upcoming event. Councilmember-at-large David Catania (I), explained “This is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on what we’ve done here in DC over the years and what we will do in the future. Instead of thinking about the mistakes of the past, the conference is a new beginning.”
One local group that will be actively involved in the process of planning this conference is the AIDS 2012 Community Coalition. According to their Facebook page, the AIDS 2012 DC Community Coalition (ACC) is a broad cross-section of people living with and affected by HIV & AIDS throughout the Washington DC Metropolitan Area working together to serve as the Local Host Committee for the XIX International AIDS Conference. Members of the DC Community Coalition come from various sectors of the community and are focused on ensuring the District of Columbia is an effective and powerful host to the AIDS 2012 Conference and its global, national and local stakeholder-attendees. They are currently recruiting members with hopes to reach numbers as high as 300 before next summer.
From this Examiner’s viewpoint, this is an excellent start to the conference. The excitement is running high and there is a diverse set of stakeholders that will be involved. A few questions come to mind as this launch begins.
Will the leaders of this conference include more women, people from the local AIDS community, and people who are currently HIV positive in all stages of this conference? As far as leadership goes, there was only one female representative present at the meeting on Friday, conference co-chair Dr. Diane Havlir. And Wallace Corbett, a member of the DC Community Coalition was reportedly a late addition to the press conference agenda.
Will the poor and disenfranchised citizens of DC who are HIV positive be able to afford to attend this conference? The IAC of 2010 had a registration cost of $860. Chances are the price will not be significantly lower next year.
Will the revenue from this conference be used to help AIDS Service Organizations in DC as well as help address some of the non-biological factors that perpetuate this disease such as housing? Mayor Gray estimated that this conference will pump more than $20 million into the city. How much of that money will programs such as HOPWA, needle exchange and ADAP receive? (Perhaps that is wishful thinking.)
Wallace Corbett stated, “We will use 2012 to change the perception of AIDS in DC.” Hopefully hard work and cooperation will make this statement an absolute next year.
What are your expectations of this conference? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
For more information about the International 2012 AIDS Conference, click here.
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Posted on February 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm