Last week’s 14th international AIDS Conference in Barcelona is getting mixed reviews in many quarters. On the positive side, the conference has been praised for some promising scientific research, as well as the emphasis on women and youth. But critics say the gathering lacked the community feeling that existed at the last conference, in Durban, and that people living with HIV/AIDS did not receive the proper respect.
Richard Burzynski is head of ICASO, the International Council of AIDS Services Organizations. He says, “You have to look at these conferences as milestones on the path of trying to correct the way we respond to HIV. This conference allowed for some of that to happen…. At the same time it was a very tough conference. It did not have the same energy or feel that existed in Durban.”
He says many people had problems getting visas to enter Spain. He says that may be a result of Western nations trying to curtail illegal immigration, especially from developing countries, a problem he says is being addressed. He also says many people were looking for more networking opportunities.