The International AIDS conferences and activism are inextricably linked. Many aspects of the pandemic and our response have been shaped by activists. The historical approach to infectious diseases prior to HIV was one of containment, quarantine and isolation…as we attempted to restrict transmission. But HIV, with its long incubation period, its prevalence initially in marginalised populations led to a movement that eventually resulted in a human rights approach to the response involving voluntary counselling, informed consent, involvement of civil society etc. There are several heroes that defined the response and continue to do so. The work of activists makes the International AIDS conference different from any other medical conference you could possibly attend and makes us think beyond odds, ratios and confidence intervals…..a good thing!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead