These past two days have been filled with intense activities and sessions at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. On Tuesday, I spent a lot of time at the global village. I might already talked about this, but the global village is a space at the IAC 2008 where community groups from around the world are sharing their work and creating opportunities for networking. I hope to be able to share video on this soon.
I also attended sessions on funding gaps and opportunities relating to HIV/AIDS and one on the current state of the pandemic in Latin America. This one was very instructive and brought together activists with leaders from international agencies like UNAIDS and the Global Fund working in the region.
On Wednesday, I attended a plenary on sexual workers, which for the first time had them discussing their own issues. It was very interesting! I also attended sessions on the linkage between human security and HIV (this one with Mary Robinson) and one on the effect of global trade and bilateral agreements on universal access to treatment. The one on human security was particularly interesting as it presented associative (but not causative) data from UNHCR which links low prevalence levels to high levels of conflict. This would mean that wars keep HIV low, and this rapidly expands in post-conflict zones. This was highly controversial, but the speaker tried to focus on the need to invest heavily on post-conflict areas, instead of speaking about when and/or how the data may more directly link low HIV prevalence to conflict.
I finished Wednesday with a session on young people, including youth speakers from India and Guyana who explained youth-friendly programs in their regions and ways that youth-related commitments in the UNGASS declaration are being implemented (or not).
Tomorrow and Friday are the last days of the conference! I’ll keep you posted!l