COVID-19 has consumed the world’s attention and raised the level of consciousness about how infectious diseases can affect us all. In the United States, we have also seen how this novel coronavirus can exacerbate existing disparities, exposing deep cracks in the healthcare system. But amid a pandemic caused by a completely new pathogen, there is an ever-present need to continue reminding the world that another pandemic – HIV/AIDS – is far from behind us.
To do our part in the fight against HIV, W2O has been incredibly fortunate to partner with the International AIDS Society (IAS) as the regional agency of record for AIDS 2020, the 23rd International AIDS Conference. Starting today and lasting throughout the week, the conference was initially planned to be held for the first time in two cities – San Francisco and Oakland – to shine a light on the disparities that expose how different health experiences can be in two cities only a few miles apart.
Our partnership with the IAS is based on a shared passion for improving global health. The conference theme, Resilience, was chosen by IAS as a nod to how far the community has come since 1990, the last time the AIDS Conference was held in the Bay Area. The history of the response to HIV/AIDS is replete with incredible models of resilience – from the first activists who took on the medical and political establishment to pave the way for astounding gains in prevention and treatment, to the newest generation of advocates fighting for equity in access to healthcare across the globe.
We are particularly proud of the award-winning Profiles in Resilience poster series, which was created by the IAS/W2O team in partnership with Bay Area artists. These works of art were inspired by, and in celebration of, the extraordinary work individuals are doing to advance the response to HIV/AIDS and are based on interviews conducted with people at the forefront of the movement. Each poster is a thoughtfully crafted visual interpretation of the complex factors that make up human resiliency. You can see some of this work featured in a recently-released video and view the full gallery here.
There is so much more to look forward to as AIDS 2020 begins. In addition to the virtual conference itself – which will feature over 600 sessions and events – a free and open to the public Global Village will demonstrate how science translates into community action and intervention.
Feeling inspired? Here’s how you can engage:
- Listen to, and share, What2Know episodes featuring dynamic and accomplished conference co-chairs, Cynthia Carey-Grant and Monica Gandhi, M.D., who discuss health disparities within marginalized communities and highlight the parallels between HIV and COVID-19.
- Watch virtual panels hosted by the Commonwealth Club of California (now accessible on YouTube) related to HIV/AIDS and the upcoming conference. The first reviewed the origins of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and the second explored resiliency as it applies to LGBTQ+ individuals in professional sports, resiliency in living through a pandemic, and resiliency in dismantling structural racism.
- Follow and keep your eyes on the AIDS 2020 Twitter and Instagram handles for the final four installments of the Profiles in Resilience poster series and other conference content.
- Access all the COVID-19 Conference content free on July 10 by signing up at aids2020.org. Of note, Bill Gates will be the keynote speaker.
- Register for full access to AIDS 2020, including the scientific sessions, at org, or peruse the Global Village for free by signing up at the same site.
Our mission at W2O is to make the world a healthier place, and nowhere is this more evident than in our work in partnership with the IAS and AIDS 2020.