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AIDS 2012

PCSJS Portfolio's picture

Last summer I was a volunteer at AIDS 2012, the international HIV/AIDS conference that was held in the US for the first time in fifteen years, following Obama’s lifting of the HIV travel ban.  For me, volunteering meant being able to network and meet lots of other people interested in HIV advocacy and policy, and being able to attend conference sessions every day.  Although many of the sessions were the same tropes being touted by the same HIV hot-shots (Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bill Gates, Elton John, etc.) some of the smaller sessions really focused on more innovative ideas and research.  In particular, I was blown away by Dázon Dixon Diallo, the founder and Executive Director of SisterLove, the first women’s HIV/AIDS organization in the Southeast US.  Diallo focused on the link between access to reproductive healthcare and HIV infection among women, and urged the audience to begin to think of the two as inseparable.  Although some of the links are obvious, Diallo pushed the connection further, arguing that if women do not have access to proper family planning the system that does not provide that care is culpable in future HIV transmission.  Although these ideas are not entirely new, the radical nature of Diallo’s statement really stuck with me and forced me to rethink how I understand HIV and health access.

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