IAS: social and political talks online as web casts
Simon Collins, HIV i-Base
This conference has one of the highest profiles for public speeches on policy and many sessions are online and available as podcasts.
If you can be moved by carefully chosen words that elevate human rights with the dignity they deserve, focused on strategies for change, then take time to listen online or by podcast.
When available, IAS webcast links are to the individual talk, rather than to the whole session (this occurs for Kaiser Foundation webcasts). More than 80 sessions are available. Most focus on social issues, policy and human rights and vary from 1-2 hours for sessions and vary from 5 to 30 minutes for individual speeches.
Links to web casts of a few highlights are included below.
The audtiorium was filled for this diverse and moving programme.
This included Elly Katabira (departing IAS president) and Diane Havlir, the co-chair for the conference, the Gay Men’s Choir (Washington) and 24 year old Annah Sango from Zimbabwe talking about her hopes as an HIV positive woman.
Also, Jim Yong Kim, current president of the World Bank (and the first to address the AIDS conference) and former director of HIV/AIDS department at the WHO, talks about why an end to AIDS should be more a reality now than “3×5” was in 2002, and how the World Bank has a commitment to ending AIDS and poverty.
“As we look back on the history of this epidemic, it is hard to say any one moment when the tide began to turn because the truth is that we have been turning back the tide, step by painful step, for 30 years. And at nearly every turn it is activists and their communities that lead the way. It was activists and their communities that devised safer sex, condom use, needle exchange and virtually all the behavioural prevention that we use today.”
“It was activists that transformed drug development and regulatory policies and involved patients in clinical research, cutting drug approval times in half in the global north. It was activists in Durban, who in 2000 began to push for access to antiretrovirals in the developing world, and who kept pushing and are pushing still today for them to be affordable and available to everyone who needs them, everywhere.”
“And it was activists whose deep understanding of the communities most affected by AIDS that has spurred a movement to promote the health and dignity of gay men, sex workers, drug users that has now reached every corner of the world. It was TASO in Uganda, ACT-UP in the US, TAC in South Africa, Grupo de la Vida in Brazil, the Layers Collective in India, the Thai Drug Users Network, and countless organisations like them, that have woven together one of the most extraordinary movements that the world has ever seen.”
Michel Sidibe (UNAIDS)
“Held for the first time in 22 years after the US lifted the HIV travel ban […] If we do not scale up treatment as prevention, if we do not reach 15 million people on treatment by 2015, if we do not eliminate new infections in children, if we do not close the funding gap… history will never forgive us […] The funding gap of $7 billion a year is killing people. […] The end of AIDS is not free, it is priceless.”
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (IAS)
Virologist, advocate and IAS president for the next year, who speaking on her 2008 Nobel laureate for medicine for her role in discovering HIV, said “it does not belong to me but to all of us”.
And outlining key issues for the next year:
“As a scientist, in 2012 it is unacceptable that more than 300,000 babies are born HIV-infected each year when we have had, since the 1990s, the tools to prevent mother to child transmission; that risk reduction strategies including needle exchange programmes are not implemented everywhere when we know this is one of the most effective scientific interventions to prevent HIV infection in IV drug users; and that intellectual property rights undermine access to high quality medicines and diagnostic tools in resource limited settings”.
Plain-speaking assertion that continued treatment roll-out is both achievable and affordable from one of the key movers behind price reductions for first and second-line ART.
HIV positive US activist, highlighting the complexity of HIV healthcare in the US where young gay men especially if they are black continue to have high rates of new infections and still have their lives cut short: 60% of black MSM are likely to be HIV positive by age 40.
AIDS activism today: reigniting the spark
This webcast included activists, many of who are HIV positive talking about human rights issues and activism in very different circumstances: Alexei Kurmanaevskii talking about drug users and the fight for access to treatment in Russia. Khavtini Slamah in a web link from Malaysia because the US denied visa access to sex workers talking about the sex worker activist response. Gina Brown talking about AIDS activism in the US and this links with the civil rights and women’s movement.
Overview of the scientific advances and implemented global programmes for treatment and prevention that give hope for eliminating HIV. (17.5 minutes into session)
[Talking over a protest against US trans-pacific trade deals that limit access to generic drugs]:
“What would an AIDS conference be without a little protesting? Part of the reason we have come as far as we have is because so many people all over the world have not been satisfied that we have done enough, and I am here to set a goal for a generation that is free of AIDS.”
An essential talk to understand the changing US political approach to HIV, notably different to an “emergency” response (the “E” in PEPFAR). “If we want to save more lives we have to go where the virus is […] And that means science should guide our efforts”. Political and personal. (78 minutes into the Turning the Tide session).
“Women with HIV have come a long way, from being zero – lower than trash to having seats at the table – we had to earn our place […] We have fought for this but also salute those people who have helped open doors… We did not ask to be the face of HIV, but 60% of HIV positive people in Africa are women. Women are 80% of care providers – doctors, nurses and counsellors – grandmothers and mothers and sisters and people leaving school to care for our dying relatives.”
In a session of on women in leadership that included a video message of support from Aung San Suu Kyi and an address by Laura Bush, Rolake, 50 minutes in, is the one not to miss.
Five minute personal contribution on why sex work is work, the differences between legal and illegal settings and lack of rights.
Anna Zakowicz and Ian McKnight
Activists from Poland and Jamaica giving their perspectives in the closing session. In the call for universal treatment they challenged pharmaceutical companies: “Why are you not in the Medicine Patent Pool? Why are you restricting access to generic medications? Why are you wining and dining doctors at this conference when people are dying of AIDS on the streets on the streets of Harare, Soweto and Islamabad”. And to the US, “Why are you, on the one hand providing treatment through PEPFAR while only the other hand you are denying treating by supporting free trade agreements that block access to low cost generics”.
Also in the closing session, Sharon Lewin with a promise that all delegates will be welcomed to Melbourne in 2014, including former and current sex workers and injecting drug users. US entry restrictions had prevented these delegates from countries outside the US from openly attending the conference – and this was highlighted in many presentations.