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For the first time in more than 20 years, the International AIDS Conference is being hosted on American soil and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) will be front and center next week when it happens.
We invite you to be there with us, even if youre sitting at your desk or at home.
The 2012 International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) convenes in the nations Capital from July 22-27, attracting more than 20,000 scientists, policy makers, people living with HIV, and others from nearly 200 countries to share research and to develop strategies for ending the AIDS epidemic. The theme of this years conference is Turning the Tide Together.
More than a dozen of our staff will be in attendance thanks largely to scholarships and sponsorship advocating for the needs of people living with or at risk for HIV in Chicago and beyond. In fact, the Rev. Charles Straight (at right), who serves on AFCs Board of Directors, was tapped to give the conference convocation. He will literally open the conference with his words of prayer.
Straights convocation and the rest of the opening session will be streamed live online here on Sunday, July 22, beginning at 6:00 p.m. CST.
AFCs presence will be felt throughout the week. David Ernesto Munar, AFCs president/CEO, co-chairs the conferences Community Programme Committee, and has worked closely with community leaders from across the globe to create a robust program with presenters and participants.
As part of his co-chair duties, Munar will speak at the opening of the conferences Global Village on Monday, July 23. He will join Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and other federal officials for a panel discussion on the US National HIV/AIDS Strategy (July 22).
Munar (at left) will also address effective advocacy strategies as part of a global activist panel (July 24) and co-moderate a session on Canada and the U.S. alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius among others (July 25, 3:30 p.m. CST, streamed online here).
AFC leadership extends to housing people living with HIV. Arturo V. Bendixen, AFCs Vice President for Housing Partnerships, will play a lead role in the AIDS 2012 International Leadership Summit on Housing.
On the social justice side, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA), a national advocacy coalition led by AFC, is partnering with other major organizations to coordinate the conferences Global Village Human Rights networking zone. The HIV PJA is also facilitating the We Can End AIDS mobilization on July 24, when thousands of HIV advocates will march the streets of D.C.
Other AFC staff will give poster presentations on a wide range of topics, including:
The impact of U.S. healthcare reform on access to HIV treatment
The critical role of housing on HIV treatment and prevention
Expanding new prevention strategies in the U.S. and abroad
The impact of stigma on access to HIV health care.
AFC was instrumental in helping craft the WASHINGTON, DC DECLARATION an international statement of purpose by endorsing individuals and organizations for rapid scale-up of nine principles to an effective global response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Endorse the declaration at: www.2endaids.org.
Attendees of the opening session on July 22 will be among the first to see a video on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. produced by the Levi Strauss Foundation and highlighting AFCs housing programs across Chicago.
POZ.com will also feature video interviews with Munar and other national leaders reflecting on the significance of AIDS advocacy at this juncture in the history of the epidemic.
We want you to be part of this exciting week, whether youre in D.C. or right at home. Join AFC at our up-to-the-minute website, www.countdownaids2012.org for updates and announcements throughout the week of AIDS 2012.
During the conference, well also have a new one-stop landing page for AFCs various blogs/websites: Inside Story, Mapping Pathways, International Rectal Microbicide Advocates and Countdown AIDS 2012.
You can find that landing page at aidschicago.org/aids2012