I think all of us who have attended an International AIDS Conference in some capacity will agree that events of this kind are few and far between. I go to many conferences both as a delegate and speaker and nothing rivals the pure energy, colour and emotion that International AIDS conferences bring to the people that attend them, in the first instance and secondly, to the cities that host them...
On this day, 20 years ago, the film-maker, painter, sculptor, gardener, author and queer rights activist Derek Jarman died of HIV. One of Britain's leading post-1945 avant garde artists, he is best remembered for his dazzling array of ground-breaking films. But it was as a HIV and queer rights campaigner that I knew him best.
New data from UNAIDS, the UN's main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, reveals that an estimated 3.6 million people aged 50 and older are living with HIV. For the first time since the start of the HIV epidemic, 10% of the adult population living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries is aged 50 or older.
Once back in England I met a great guy on a night out. On our second date he disclosed that he was HIV positive... This person educated me. I learned the science behind HIV and this knowledge freed me from the fear that I'd harboured before. More importantly for me though was the openness: when it was relevant, he shared his status, and with his consent, I did the same. What began as cathartic became educational. It was amazing how little people knew!
At Malaria No More UK we stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone whose lives have been affected and all those working tirelessly to fight this deadly yet preventable epidemic... World Aids Day is a day to spur ourselves on for action and refusal to accept that this is how things will continue to be.
I'm writing this at the tail end of what has been a hectic but extraordinarily energising week on the path to AIDS2014 - I know it's only October 2013 but it is certainly apparent already to me and my colleagues both here in Australia and at the IAS Secretariat in Switzerland that there is already a groundswell of momentum building ahead of the event.
society safely compartmentalises HIV as a nasty disease restricted to gay men... And everybody's happy. Except, I would hope, a lot of gay men, who must surely be scratching their heads and wondering why there's such a prurient interest in their sex lives - and, worst of all, why they haven't been invited to these hedonistic shagfests.
I'm here in Paris a few days out from the symposium being held at the Institut Pasteur to mark the 30th anniversary of the discovery of HIV... I do not think we can underestimate the degree to which science has so significantly shifted the direction of an epidemic - HIV science has provided lessons for all of us working in the field but also for many of those working in other branches of medicine. As many of my colleagues will undoubtedly reiterate over the coming days, the role of HIV science in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has also changed forever the way in which we deal with global health.