I Orbit Clanton had the privilege of attending the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington DC as a Delegate. The International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward.
Being a person living with HIV for 30 years, attending the conference was an exceptional opportunity to gain new scientific knowledge, to cultivate my professional growth development, and the IAC is a great place for networking.
In the course of the opening ceremony, we were charmed with the Gay male chorus of Washington DC. The first recipients of the Dame Elizabeth Taylor Award were given out to two AIDS advocates from Iran who were imprisoned for six years for doing HIV advocacy.
Attending the IAC offered me many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing participants living with HIV from various counties. I was able to gain their understanding on the circumstances of HIV/AIDS, as to what it is like to be living with HIV in their counties.
Other related activities, included visiting the Global Village, as a man of faith, I had the satisfaction of attending the “One Voice: Gospel Artists Respond to AIDS” performance held at the Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church located across the street from the IAC center. It was a blessing to observe faith believers from numerous nations coming together, standing up in songs, praises, and worship for the Ending of AIDS in the world.
It was a privilege to hear the U.S Secretary of State Hilary Clinton give a powerful and inspirational speech on the global collaboration to bring about an AIDS Free Generation, and the Ending of AIDS. In addition, singer Elton John gave his personal motivation for why he is in this fight to end AIDS.
In concluding, I like to articulate my esteem, joyfulness I experienced being in attendance at the 2012 IAC.