HIV Activists Announce Alternative 2020 Conference in Mexico City

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Mexico City, Mexico – December 10, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

An alliance of key population-led networks, networks of people living with HIV, treatment activists, and supporters has formed to organize an international community-led conference titled HIV2020: Community Reclaiming the Global Response. The event is scheduled to take place in Mexico City, July 5-7 of 2020, and will run concurrently with the 2020 International AIDS Conference which is happening in the United States. The HIV2020 Alliance has decided to organize the community-led event to provide a safe alternative for individuals who cannot or will not attend AIDS2020 due to discriminatory U.S. immigration and travel policies directed to people from Muslim, African, Caribbean and Latin American countries, people who use drugs, sex workers, and transgender people. The announcement of the event comes on the advent of Human Rights Day, as the conference aims to offer new opportunities to reaffirm the leading role communities can and should play in the global fight for sexual health and human rights.

The International AIDS Society’s (IAS) decision to host their 2020 event in the San Francisco Bay Area sparked vocal protests and calls for an “AIDS2020 For All” and an “HIV Power Shift” at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam this July. IAS’s decision went against the recommendations of community advocates worldwide, including the national networks of people living with HIV in the U.S., creating a dilemma for many in the global HIV movement. The HIV2020 Alliance’s decision to hold an event parallel to the 2020 International AIDS Conference is not without precedent. When the IAS hosted their last event in the U.S. in 2012, sex worker activists and people who used drugs organized their own events in India and Ukraine in protest. In fact, key populations have been organizing their own pre-conferences at IAS events to specifically address the needs of their communities for over a decade.

“It is irresponsible to put on an event of this size in a country that is inhospitable to people most affected by HIV and AIDS. The IAS’s decision resurfaces questions about the importance and community-relevance of large, multi-million-dollar conferences in the face of shrinking investment in the global HIV response,” said George Ayala, executive director of MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights. “Their decision to move ahead with a conference in the U.S. suggests a willingness by mainstream HIV actors to tolerate the discrimination of people from Muslim, African, Caribbean and Latin American countries, people who use drugs, sex workers, and transgender people. We plan to rectify this and to work with community members to reclaim the global HIV response at the HIV2020 conference.”

HIV2020 will be a community-centered, key population-led, interdisciplinary, intersectional, and sex positive event. Its aim is to: build safe and friendly space for the equitable exchange of information, knowledge, experiences and expertise by ensuring diverse voices are heard and reflected; promote community-led solutions and good practice in sexual health and human rights; amplify community voices in calling out the inequities experienced across key populations and specific legal restrictions on some key populations’ right to freedom of movement; demonstrate the importance of meaningful involvement of communities in health and human rights responses; reaffirm community commitments and priorities to global health and human rights responses (inclusive of HIV); and model an innovative approach for deliberating new research, tools, and strategies and their real-life implications, with communities as equal partners.

Organizers are calling for statements of solidarity with HIV2020. Advocates, community-based organizations, healthcare and service providers, researchers, public health officials, and funders are invited to endorse the event in writing, on social media, and during high-level global meetings.Learn more about this event and how to get involved at www.hiv2020.org

@HIV2020 #HIV2020 #ReclaimTheResponse

Media Contact: George Ayala gayala@mpactglobal.org

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