Yesterday we asked people how they are feeling about the XVI AIDS Conference, what they will take away from it, and if they think the most important issues are being tackled.
Here are some of their responses:
“People are talking more on prevention and microbicides and new results studies, but they have to think about positive people also, is their a response ready for preventing this HIV infection, to reduce this epidemic? Positive people, even I am positive people, I changed my behaviors. I have learned good knowledge and I have a good experience to share with others. It is important for me to be able to share this experience and this knowledge because I am able to prevent the spread of this disease. I can give some other faces to this epidemic. Whatever they are thinking about this prevention, they have to involve the positive people also in their programs."
- Asha, India
"I don't think there could ever have been another factor that brought so many people together for a common cause. We've all wished for a long time for an end to injustice and a healing for humanity and in such a bizarre way this virus is giving us that opportunity because we are now dependent on people in our society that we have turned our backs on in our world. We depend on sex workers and IDUs to help us combat this and understand it. I think this amazing to mobilize that wisdom and that dignity... There isn't a corner on the globe that isn't affected by this and it's an incredibly uniting movement."
- Les Dolyn, Jasper, Alberta
"This is my first International AIDS Conference. It's a huge conference, really amazing and there are many people from many parts of the world. It is really worthwhile to be here - I learn how people from African countries, from Central Asia, how they are facing AIDS challenges, including stigma and discrimination and lack of access to ARV and other supporting services. I am really happy to be here. There are issues we are not talking about here, but I am more happy to see that people are expressing their concerns here, openly, whereas we cannot do the same thing in the country because countries contexts will be difference, political leaders will have different priorities than AIDS, but here we in AIDS so we can talk about that."
- Bobby, Nepal
"The conference is very good, it's has been a huge job on the part of the organizers of the conference. It's a great time for people to come together to talk about their work and their opinions and their solutions to the issues of AIDS around the world. But there is not enough representation on Latin America, I am from Colombia, there is not enough representation of the governments and very few sessions on Latin America which is leaving Colombia in a critical situation similar to the one Africa is facing."
- Domingo Garcia, Colombia
"I think one issue that is not being addressed sufficiently at this conference is the issue of access to treatment. We now have the case where India must become TRIPS compliant and so because of that it many not be able to supply future drugs because now India grants patents on pharmaceutical products. We have TRIPS plus provisions being signed in the free trade agreements where the TRIPS flexibilities available are now being limited through the FTAs. So we have a situation where we are looking at least potentially access to second-line drugs being very difficult if not nearly impossible. I think this at this conference though the issue is being addressed, it is not at the forefront and to me its the most important issue right now - what are we going to do for cheaper generics on second line ARVs - taking into considering what's happened in India as well as the current trend on property rights in bilateral trade agreements."
- Singita, United Kingdom