Thomas M., Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California, USA.

This summer in Washington DC, citizens from other parts of the world were well received by Washingtonians during the AIDS-2012 Conference. AIDS has inspired many activists, the affected and the infected to work together. It has inspired grass-root groups to work towards networking and together be the voice for against human rights abuses. It has brought together the Global North and Global South. It is now possible to chart AIDS, join dots and do something about the infected and dying. Today key affected populations are provided with platforms to increase participation in decision-making. However, resources have decreased. A frugal approach is making it hard to target formerly un-attended population groups. Funds and resources still pour into the coffers of the desirable populations. Religious and cultural fervour are still skewed towards these desirable population groups. Risk reduction tools for the key affected populations face low promotion due to structural war paths including outright denunciation of some population groups being despicable and therefore not deserving a glance at all. The ambitious vision: zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths is still a relevant clarion call. It makes universal access achievable and therefore calls upon all to not stand in the way of service provision, calls upon them to make contribution towards eradication of HIV-AIDS.
Evidence-based protocol has revealed that HIV-1 has different forms and that all these persist in patients on HAART. Establishing centers of excellence and laboratories to investigate HIV, through to ensuring access to the scientific products by all beneficiaries, providing Intellectual property laws that are friendly, to providing opportunity to affected persons to present their psychosocial status and lastly allowing communities to meet and invigorate each other as the fight to eradicate HIV continues, requires all of us to bring down the discrimination barriers.
Over 30,000 persons flocked to the Venue of the convention. This moment’s theme: Turning the Tide of the HIV epidemic together will remain the enduring call for everyone to be involved in the fight against HIV. This calls for consistency, planning, endurance, accountability, re-designing, re-dedication, capacity building and passing on skills to others as well. You too can do something as we move towards AIDS 2014, Melbourne.

What, unfortunately, transpires during conferences for some activist-cum-leaders (who have personalised funders and continue to make sure it is their names that appear everywhere) is very de-motivating and the list is long: from stifling potential activists, lack of grooming tendencies, through to being the permanent figure/s at all conferences and engaging more in parties and dinners than actual conference sessions. As a leader at your own micro-level what are you doing to either continue doing something about eradicating HIV or giving room, and acknowledging those who are genuinely doing HIV work ? Is it about enjoying trips when it comes to HIV conferences in your case? Is it about not allowing your data collectors or staff below you, access to processes that would have enabled them benefit from support in form of scholarships by denying them recommendations? We know of so called leaders who claim to have interventions and groups but in reality they are just hood winking funders and they get all the support which they use for personal gains. This goes to them: Stop being the burden.


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