The International AIDS conference is obviously an essential conference. While we are forty years into the AIDS epidemic, about a decade away from a vaccine and maybe, an AIDS-free generation, it is clear that bringing together people from all over the world including activists, researchers and PLWHA for their voices to be heard is vital.

Some of the more profound sessions and speeches I attended and experienced included; Phil Wilson’s very moving speech at the opening plenary, Hilary Clinton’s surprise address, a session on the psychosocial support of adolescents living with HIV, and a session composed of a panel of very young leaders and advocates working in HIV/AIDS. The above four experiences were very inspirational and moving to me; some bringing me close to tears.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to be a part of this once in a lifetime opportunity-I am not sure I will ever experience it again. Some of the people I met in casual settings had the biggest aspect on me-especially youth living with HIV. It is amazing how driven and proactive some of the younger generation is, and that gives me a lot of hope for our future.

Written by Rachel Kennedy


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