Leaving AIDS 2008 with mixed emotions

Homeless people protest at AIDS 2008

Homeless people protest at AIDS 2008

Contributor: Natalia Cales

As I prepare to leave the IAC in Mexico City, I have many thoughts running through my mind. Overall, I had a wonderful opportunity to network and meet amazing people from around the world who are working towards meaningful change in the “HIV/AIDS World”.

Everyone who attended the conference brought a different focal point to the theme, Universal Action Now! I witnessed several protest demonstrations by different activist groups, including homeless people with HIV, transgender individuals, gay and lesbian rights, Dance 4 Life, people against PEPFAR, youth living with AIDS, etc.

Despite being surrounded by a lot of empowering people, I am leaving the conference with mixed emotions about the future of HIV and AIDS.

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Natalia Cales reflects on AIDS 2008

vblog by Natalia Cales

Reflections on the XVII International AIDS Conference…

AIDS 2008: Youth participation has increased, says Alischa

vblog by Natalia Cales

I interviewed Alischa, 28, from Australia who shares her experience as a young woman who has attended five International AIDS Conference. This is a summary of what she says: “Youth participation has grown… when I first went to an International AIDS Conference eight years ago, there was hardly a handful of young people, we were a minority. A lot of people have worked hard to change that… there are 1000 young people this year, not just attending but participating, leading change, asking leaders to make real commitments…”

African-Americans and HIV: how should we respond?

Natalia with Phil Wilson, ED of Black AIDS Institute

Natalia with Phil Wilson, ED of Black AIDS Institute

Contributor: Natalia Cales

While listening to many press conferences and reading the daily AIDS 2008- Global Voice newspaper, it is clear that many feel we are not succeeding in the response HIV and AIDS. From Africa to Asia, in the Caribbean and the United States, HIV is on the rise! Some researchers state “stopping the Epidemic is possible”, but do they really have the “perfect solution”? With additional treatment methods and an increasing ARV medication list, why are the statistics showing this alarming trend.

As a young woman from America, I am very concerned about the recent statistics regarding the rising epidemic. Recently, the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) in the United States published a report, Left Behind, reflecting the state of AIDS in Black America. During a press conference held at the IAC, I had the pleasure to listen to several influential black leaders from the US discuss this report, including Phil Wilson, US Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Pernessa Seele, Dr. Helena Gayle, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Dr. Jacob Gayle.

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We need mentors, says young woman at ‘AIDS 2008′

vblog by Natalia Cales

I asked Angela, from Kenya, a young woman attending AIDS 2008 what she hoped the outcomes of the conference would be, especially as a young woman since young women are most affected by HIV. She said that she hoped young women would come out of the conference stronger and more empowered…

We can make a change, says young woman

vblog by Natalia Cales

I spoke with Davia from Jamaica, a young woman attending AIDS 2008 who shared with me some of the problems women in Jamaica face. She hopes for change, that the conference will bring about change but also that young women can lead the change!

AIDS 2008: We must have condoms

vblog by Natalia Cales

I interviewed Tais from Brazil who shared with me her experiences from attending the XVII IAC in Mexico City. The most important lesson she learnt during the conference she says is “condoms, condoms, condoms!”

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