News / Africa

    AIDS 2012: Preparations Underway for US to Host Conference

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Joe DeCapua

    In July 2012, the world’s largest AIDS conference comes to Washington, D.C.  It’s the first time the gathering will be held in the United States since 1990 and preparations are already underway.

    Despite the massive U.S. financial, medical and scientific contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS, a major issue blocked the conference from being held here.  That was a law that prohibited HIV infected people from traveling to the United States. In was passed in 1987 in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Efforts to lift the ban began during President George W. Bush’s second administration.  It was finally repealed in January 2010 under President Obama.

    To International AIDS Society President and conference co-chair – Dr. Elly Katabira – that’s very good news.

    “So now we’re in business,” he says.

    Similar to D.C.

    Katabira has visited Washington, D.C. to meet with city officials about the 19th International AIDS Conference, also known as AIDS 2012.

    AIDS 2012: Preparations Underway for US to Host Conference
    AIDS 2012: Preparations Underway for US to Host Conference

    “The epidemic in the U.S. and in particular Washington, D.C., is not very different from other highly affected countries in the sub-Saharan region and other regions of the world.  So, coming here would give us an opportunity, and also Washington, D.C., an opportunity, to share the experiences, learn from each other, mistakes and so on,” he says.

    A prominent Washington HIV treatment and care facility – the Whitman-Walker Clinic – says 3 percent of the city’s adult population is confirmed to have HIV.  Another 3 to 5 percent are believed to be HIV positive, but have not been diagnosed.  Most of the new infections are among African-Americans and gay men.

    The theme of AIDS 2012 is yet to be determined.

    “We haven’t yet worked on the theme.  Normally, the theme comes close to the time of the conference.  The reason is that the conference now has one and a half years to go.  If you have a theme now, things may change over time.  And the theme, once you’ve decided, you can’t change it.  It becomes irrelevant,” he says, adding, “So, we’ll start discussing the theme somewhere in the middle of this year.  And towards the end of this year, then we will have a theme for the conference.”

    Budget cuts

    Katabira visited Washington at a time when the House of Representatives has proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

    He urges Congress to reject those cuts, especially since the conference is being held in the nation’s capital.

    “If they would listen to me, my pledge would be, please, don’t do any more cuts.  In anything, put up more money.  The reason is, we appreciate the economic front, because we don’t want to be on the negative side alone.  We definitely appreciate the reason behind the cuts.  But then also we need to appreciate that the epidemic itself is still burning.  And any further cuts are likely to make the escalation of the epidemic worse,” he says.

    He says he fears if the U.S. cuts AIDS funding, other nations will follow suit.

    “The rest of the world has stood on the benefits of the U.S. government and the people of the U.S.  Once they hear that even the U.S. is cutting down they may think it is relevant for them also either to stay [keep] the status quo or to cut the funding,” he says.

    Each International AIDS Society president puts his or her mark on the conference, a personal goal, if you will.  Dr. Katabira is no different.

    “Mine,” he says, “is leadership and accountability.  Much as I appreciate the support from all the G8 [nations], including the U.S. and other public/private stakeholders, I want to emphasize that with…the possibility of funding likely to be reduced, ourselves, the recipients, the beneficiaries of this support, need to be more focused in actually maximizing whatever we get from this country.  Use the amount of money as effectively and efficiently [as possible], so we can reach much more people than we are doing today with the current funding.”

    The 19th International AIDS Conference will be held from July 22nd through the 27th, 2012.

    You May Like

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora