Orain and Eva at XIX international AIDS Conference 2012

The International AIDS Conference is the foremost gathering of medical practitioners, advocates/activists, government official, civil society members, community workers and key affected populations in one place to discuss the HIV & AIDS epidemic.
The 2012 XIX international AIDS Conference held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC earlier this month under the theme “turning the tide together” brought together 30, 000 delegates from 200 countries who provided best practices, professional experience, scientific knowledge through various forms such as plenaries, breakout sessions, poster presentations, satellite meetings, exhibition, affiliated independent events, and booth display at the ever entertaining global village.
An event of this magnitude and caliber could not have passed without the Atlas Corps Team fully representing and participating as the true young leaders and global changers we are. I was fortunate enough to have not only been selected as a youth Reviewer of Programme Activity Proposals, selected member of the youth pre-conference reception committee, a presenter at the youth pre conference but also as one of four youth rapporteur as well being selected to present my poster. These opportunities provided me with full access to the entire conference and an avenue to not only network and create future partnerships and professional relationships but also share my experiences as a youth advocate within the global HIV response and garner knowledge and best practices from other conference attendees.
Prior to the conference I must admit I was a bit nervous and a tad bit worried I would not be able to complete all these tasks on time and eventually miss out on meeting up with a few of my atlas corps fellows, as I had already RSVP for evening receptions in an effort to woo funders and share contacts for my host organization Out and Equal, boy was I wrong. Upon publicly announcing my trip details I was immediately informed that other fellows working within the DC area will also be in attendance at the conference, namely: Luckmore (who represented MSI) Esther, Eva, Gbenga and Mohammed. Of course I made quick stop by the Atlas Corps office to say hi to FRED and Meredith and oh yeah spent an entire night one of the fellows house with Eva, Esther and Jane!
My AIDS 2012 experience was a great one, I learnt a lot about myself and how well I managed my time, how to be more social at networking events but also I learnt a lot about the people I’m always around and are friends with. Most importantly my knowledge on the HIV epidemic increased and my determination and passion to eradicate this disease/infection grew.
Post AIDS 2012 and prior AIDS 2014 (Melbourne Australia) I hope to see a renewed spirit and drive within the global HIV response and the active participation of young people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS and youth within key affected populations on all levels (community, policy, leadership, national, regional and international). Together we can turn the tide!

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