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An open letter from your AIDS 2020 Conference Coordinating Committee

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We are proud of the communities we are – people living with HIV; men who have sex with men, transgender people, and other LGBTQI people; racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous people, immigrants and refugees; sex workers and people who inject drugs. We are scientists, clinicians and community advocates. We represent an international community, a United States and other countries around the globe that are resisting divisive politics and united in this historic and collective fight to end the HIV epidemic.  Within the United States, we represent Oakland, San Francisco, southern states and major cities across the nation. In this capacity, we are honoured to assume the responsibility as the leadership body of the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020) and take on the role of the Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC).

In just under two years, our HIV community will gather in Oakland and San Francisco for AIDS 2020 which comes at a critical moment in the global fight against HIV.  Moreover, this conference is occurring at a critical point in the history of the host country, the United States. Never has it been more important to make our collective voices heard.

With great challenge comes great opportunity. We know from experience that the conference has the power to unite diverse voices to confront harmful policies and draw international attention and resources to ending the epidemic. We came together in Vancouver in 1996 to usher in the HAART era.  We came together in 2000 to face AIDS denialism in South Africa. Now, the selection of the US is giving us the opportunity to stand up and seize this moment – and leverage this powerful platform – as a united community and to drive meaningful change.

We had broad community support from organizations and persons living with HIV in San Francisco and Oakland to hold the meeting in the Bay Area. Moreover, key political leaders in California all committed their support to AIDS 2020. We believe in this opportunity so much that we are committing our time over the next two years to fulfil important roles within the AIDS 2020 CCC and to make this committee one that is responsive to the needs of all people living with and at-risk for HIV.

In assuming our roles on the CCC, we commit to planning an impactful AIDS 2020 agenda that allows us to celebrate and learn from our successes while constantly pushing for advances in science, programmes and policy. Over the coming months, we will be seeking your input, and working closely with the International AIDS Society and partners to ensure that the conference is as accessible as possible to all who wish to attend. We are committed to a global gathering that gives a voice to all communities, shares solutions, and advances the conversation to end this epidemic.

We are excited to head to the Bay Area of California, a part of the world deeply entwined with the history of the global AIDS response – an international hub of both activism and science. The Bay Area has been at the forefront of advances from basic science to treatment and prevention breakthroughs and has been at the frontlines of advocacy, fighting back against unacceptable policies. Through the unique partnership of Oakland and San Francisco we can show two sides of the same coin—the successes that San Francisco has had and the struggles that Oakland is still facing.

Every host city or country comes with its own immigration challenges and we recognize the specific challenges we will face in the US. However, strong political commitment is the backbone of a meaningful and impactful conference. It was the unparalleled political leadership demonstrated by the State of California that helped secure the bid. California, and Oakland and San Francisco in particular, have a long history of resisting unjust policies, including immigration reform and refugee quotas.

With the selection of the Bay Area for AIDS 2020, we have the chance to elevate US and global HIV concerns on to the national and international stage. That includes shining a spotlight on and working to reform unjust policies that restrict entry into the US and other countries and perpetuate a climate of stigma and fear. This is a rare moment to put HIV and those most affected, including people of colour, minorities and the economically disadvantaged, at the centre of political discussion. It won’t be easy, but we will rise to the challenge and work together – as we always have – on fighting prejudice, racism, sexism and isolationism wherever it happens

While we recognize that we take different approaches to achieve the same goal, what has fundamentally made our community strong was the mutual underlying respect for one another. We are all fighting the same fight against HIV and we look forward to joining forces as the AIDS 2020 CCC to do this together.

Sincerely,
The AIDS 2020 Co-chairs

Anton Pozniak, International Chair
Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust
United Kingdom

Cynthia Carey-Grant, Local Co-chair, Oakland
formerly Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases
United States

Monica Gandhi, Local Co-chair, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco
United States

Signed by your AIDS 2020 CCC members:

Adeeba Kamarulzaman
University of Malaya
Malaysia

Andrew Ball
World Health Organization

Beatriz Grinsztejn
Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Disease – Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
Brazil

Carole Treston
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
United States

Chris Beyrer
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
United States

Erika Castellanos
Global Action for Trans Equality
The Netherlands

Hyman Scott
San Francisco Department of Public Health
United States

Javier Bellocq
The Global Network of People Living with HIV
Argentina

Jintanat Ananworanich
Military HIV Research Program
United States

Joe Hollendoner
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
United States

Judith Auerbach
University of California, San Francisco
United States

Kathie Hiers
AIDS Alabama
United States

Kevin Osborne
International AIDS Society
Switzerland

Mandeep Dhaliwal
United Nation Development Programme

Manuel Venegas
University of Washington
United States

Marama Mullen
International Community of Women Living with HIV
New Zealand

Marina Klein
McGill University Health Care
Canada

Mary Ann Torres
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations
Canada

Midnight Poonkasetwattana
Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health
Thailand

Morten Ussing
The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS

Shannon Kowalski
International Women’s Health Coalition
United States

Steffanie Strathdee
University of California, San Diego
United States

Trevor Stratton
International Indigenous HIV and AIDS Community
Canada

Vuyiseka Dubula
Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management, Stellenbosch University
South Africa

Click here to learn more about the AIDS 2020 CCC members

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • To determine the location for each International AIDS Conference, the International AIDS Society (IAS) conducts an extensive, open-bid process that begins 18 months before a decision is made. For the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020), IAS also conducted proactive outreach to more than 20 cities worldwide to encourage them to submit a bid, starting in 2016.
  • The process involves an extensive evaluation of each city’s ability to house the meeting and its delegates, commitment to supporting scientific research and implementation, and inclusion of civil society and communities living with HIV in their local response. Each city is required to include a cross-section of policy makers, scientific researchers and civil society as part of the bid.
  • The leadership demonstrated by the State of California in bidding for AIDS 2020 was unparalleled. We received 33 letters of support from local AIDS organizations, local key population networks, leading activists and political leaders, all willing to support the mission of the conference. These included:
    • Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris
    • Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
    • Congresswoman Barbara Lee
    • Leaders of the State Legislature’s LGBT Caucus
    • Governor Jerry Brown
  • For AIDS 2020, only cities in the global North chose to submit bids. Even after extensive outreach from IAS staff and site visits to potential hosts in the global South, we did not receive any applications.
  • Experience tells us that locations with significant challenges frequently offer the greatest opportunities for change. AIDS 2000 in Durban is a good example. We went in fully aware that the South African president was in denial that HIV even caused AIDS; that gathering marked a turning point for our movement.
  • The US Government plays a vitally important role in addressing the epidemic both globally and domestically, and yet, year after year, we see attempts to dismantle and de-fund these programmes.
  • In its bid, the State of California and the cities of San Francisco and Oakland have jointly shown their willingness to leverage the conference as a platform to resist discriminatory policies, in partnership with conference organizers.
  • Holding AIDS 2020 in the Bay Area will allow us to showcase innovations that have helped San Francisco nearly eliminate new infections and to examine new strategies being employed in Oakland, a city tackling very different challenges.
  • Beyond the Bay Area, AIDS 2020 will shine a spotlight on communities across the US where the HIV epidemic is far from over. People of colour in the US continue to face disproportionate barriers to accessing prevention and treatment and if current trends persist, one in two black gay men will acquire HIV in his lifetime.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV – and nearly one in eight of those are not aware that they are infected.
  • The opioid crisis has fuelled a resurgence of new infections. In 2015, an outbreak was discovered in Indiana, and in 2018, the CDC announced another cluster in Massachusetts linked to injecting drug use.
  • Partners in both San Francisco and Oakland are committed to using the conference to make HIV science and policy front-and-centre election year issues.
  • With the selection of the Bay Area for AIDS 2020, we have the chance to elevate US and global HIV concerns to the national and international stage. That includes shining a spotlight on and working to reform unjust policies that restrict entry into the country and perpetuate a climate of stigma and fear.
  • This is a rare moment to put HIV and those most affected, including people of colour, minorities and the economically disadvantaged, at the centre of the election discussion.
  • Key community and political leaders in San Francisco and Oakland recognize the benefit of the conference in solidifying collaborations between the two cities that will play an important role during the election year.
  • We think that hosting AIDS 2020 in the US at this time will potentially give HIV a much bigger platform than it would otherwise have in important national and political debates that will be happening then.
  • Through the unique partnership of Oakland and San Francisco, we can examine two very different epidemics.
  • San Francisco and Oakland represent a tale of two cities, and two diverging experiences that offer insights relevant to the broader HIV community.
  • San Francisco and Oakland represent a tale of two cities and two diverging experiences that offer insights relevant to the broader HIV community.
  • San Francisco was one of the first cities to embrace the UN 90-90-90 targets, and to launch a Getting to Zero effort involving a citywide collaboration of stakeholders from all sectors. It is on track to end new HIV infections by 2020.
  • Across the Bay, Oakland continues to face racial and economic disparities and disproportionate rates of HIV. The city signed onto the Fast-Track Cities Initiative in 2015 and is strengthening policies and programmes tailored to communities most affected by HIV, specifically those that reduce social and economic barriers to HIV prevention and care, in order to reach the 90-90-90 targets.
  • he Bay Area is a hub of top-line, multi-disciplinary, global HIV/AIDS research, led by UCSF, SFDPH, the Gladstone Institute of Virology & Immunology, UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Stanford University.
  • Conference organizers are committed to ensuring that programming and activities are equally represented in both cities.
  • No decisions have been made yet about how to split programming across the cities. The Conference Coordinating Committee will take on this responsibility, seeking input from partners throughout the decision process.
  • Since 2014, we have doubled the number of scholarships for conference attendees. We are committed to continuing to increase the number of scholarships available to those who otherwise could not afford to attend.
  • San Francisco has agreed to waive the cost of the conference venue. These significant savings will allow us to increase our investment in scholarships and keep to the commitment we have maintained for the past decade to not raise registration fees.
  • Local partners are also helping to secure low-cost accommodation by working with universities, hotels and hostels.
  • While there are many reasons for holding AIDS 2020 in the Bay Area, we recognize that an HIV conference in the United States faces serious practical challenges. We have strong political commitment that we believe will help us in finding creative ways to address these issues.
  • AIDS 2012 in Washington DC is an important model for preparing for AIDS 2020. Early engagement from policy experts and advocates helped address a large number of access issues for delegates travelling internationally. This successful model will be put in place for 2020.
  • Given the additional challenges we face under this US administration, for AIDS 2020, we are committed to taking that a step further. We have already convened a high-level, multidisciplinary, bipartisan working group to address specific immigration challenges, of which safe and unimpeded entry for key populations – even beyond the conference – is a priority. This working group will coordinate with migration experts to examine existing laws and advise attendees on how to navigate them.
  • We are working with our partners to come up with creative solutions to make AIDS 2020 virtually accessible to participants in other countries and to ensure that the voices of those who cannot attend in person are heard at the conference. We are actively pursuing support from the many leading technology companies in the Bay Area to enhance our remote access options.
  • This planning has only just begun and is a priority of the Conference Coordinating Committee.
  • All countries have immigration restrictions and, as with each conference, we work with civil society, governments, private sector partners and others to find innovative ways to ensure maximum participation in the conference – especially for key populations and people living with HIV.
  • We pledge to use the conference platform to continue advocating against discriminatory and stigmatizing policies and practices in all countries to effect change on our shared concerns, such as visa and immigration issues. Although many of these challenges are not just US-specific, they are particularly challenging under the current administration.
  • There are, however, specific events that would automatically be grounds for moving the conference. If, for example, the HIV travel ban is reinstated, the reintroduction of this policy would not allow for the GIPA Principle – one of the key markers in the HIV movement – to be realized and, as such, would be a catalyst for moving the conference.
  • Medical conditions and evidence of financial security for entry are requirements from all governments, including “friendly” administrations, such as The Netherlands and Canada. In anticipation that a strict administration would likely affect the interpretation and enforcement of these criteria, we commissioned a report from a subject matter expert to better understand current US immigration law related to non-immigrant travel into the US (Business B-1 and Tourism B-2 Visas) and the implications for AIDS 2020.
  • The report will be used to help guide the work of the national advisory group and local leaders to help us leverage this moment for change.

More information is available and will continue to be updated at www.aids2020.org.

AIDS 2020 offers excellent opportunities for corporate partners to demonstrate their support for the HIV response and to showcase their HIV-related work. Please check our sponsorship brochure to find out more details on available packages.

For further information, please contact Jeanne Mencier who is also available to discuss customized sponsorship packages tailored to best meet your specific needs.

An open letter from your AIDS 2020 Conference Coordinating Committee

posted on

We are proud of the communities we are – people living with HIV; men who have sex with men, transgender people, and other LGBTQI people; racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous people, immigrants and refugees; sex workers and people who inject drugs. We are scientists, clinicians and community advocates. We represent an international community, a United States and other countries around the globe that are resisting divisive politics and united in this historic and collective fight to end the HIV epidemic.  Within the United States, we represent Oakland, San Francisco, southern states and major cities across the nation. In this capacity, we are honoured to assume the responsibility as the leadership body of the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020) and take on the role of the Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC).

In just under two years, our HIV community will gather in Oakland and San Francisco for AIDS 2020 which comes at a critical moment in the global fight against HIV.  Moreover, this conference is occurring at a critical point in the history of the host country, the United States. Never has it been more important to make our collective voices heard.

With great challenge comes great opportunity. We know from experience that the conference has the power to unite diverse voices to confront harmful policies and draw international attention and resources to ending the epidemic. We came together in Vancouver in 1996 to usher in the HAART era.  We came together in 2000 to face AIDS denialism in South Africa. Now, the selection of the US is giving us the opportunity to stand up and seize this moment – and leverage this powerful platform – as a united community and to drive meaningful change.

We had broad community support from organizations and persons living with HIV in San Francisco and Oakland to hold the meeting in the Bay Area. Moreover, key political leaders in California all committed their support to AIDS 2020. We believe in this opportunity so much that we are committing our time over the next two years to fulfil important roles within the AIDS 2020 CCC and to make this committee one that is responsive to the needs of all people living with and at-risk for HIV.

In assuming our roles on the CCC, we commit to planning an impactful AIDS 2020 agenda that allows us to celebrate and learn from our successes while constantly pushing for advances in science, programmes and policy. Over the coming months, we will be seeking your input, and working closely with the International AIDS Society and partners to ensure that the conference is as accessible as possible to all who wish to attend. We are committed to a global gathering that gives a voice to all communities, shares solutions, and advances the conversation to end this epidemic.

We are excited to head to the Bay Area of California, a part of the world deeply entwined with the history of the global AIDS response – an international hub of both activism and science. The Bay Area has been at the forefront of advances from basic science to treatment and prevention breakthroughs and has been at the frontlines of advocacy, fighting back against unacceptable policies. Through the unique partnership of Oakland and San Francisco we can show two sides of the same coin—the successes that San Francisco has had and the struggles that Oakland is still facing.

Every host city or country comes with its own immigration challenges and we recognize the specific challenges we will face in the US. However, strong political commitment is the backbone of a meaningful and impactful conference. It was the unparalleled political leadership demonstrated by the State of California that helped secure the bid. California, and Oakland and San Francisco in particular, have a long history of resisting unjust policies, including immigration reform and refugee quotas.

With the selection of the Bay Area for AIDS 2020, we have the chance to elevate US and global HIV concerns on to the national and international stage. That includes shining a spotlight on and working to reform unjust policies that restrict entry into the US and other countries and perpetuate a climate of stigma and fear. This is a rare moment to put HIV and those most affected, including people of colour, minorities and the economically disadvantaged, at the centre of political discussion. It won’t be easy, but we will rise to the challenge and work together – as we always have – on fighting prejudice, racism, sexism and isolationism wherever it happens

While we recognize that we take different approaches to achieve the same goal, what has fundamentally made our community strong was the mutual underlying respect for one another. We are all fighting the same fight against HIV and we look forward to joining forces as the AIDS 2020 CCC to do this together.

Sincerely,
The AIDS 2020 Co-chairs

Anton Pozniak, International Chair
Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust
United Kingdom

Cynthia Carey-Grant, Local Co-chair, Oakland
formerly Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases
United States

Monica Gandhi, Local Co-chair, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco
United States

Signed by your AIDS 2020 CCC members:

Adeeba Kamarulzaman
University of Malaya
Malaysia

Andrew Ball
World Health Organization

Beatriz Grinsztejn
Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Disease – Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
Brazil

Carole Treston
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
United States

Chris Beyrer
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
United States

Erika Castellanos
Global Action for Trans Equality
The Netherlands

Hyman Scott
San Francisco Department of Public Health
United States

Javier Bellocq
The Global Network of People Living with HIV
Argentina

Jintanat Ananworanich
Military HIV Research Program
United States

Joe Hollendoner
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
United States

Judith Auerbach
University of California, San Francisco
United States

Kathie Hiers
AIDS Alabama
United States

Kevin Osborne
International AIDS Society
Switzerland

Mandeep Dhaliwal
United Nation Development Programme

Manuel Venegas
University of Washington
United States

Marama Mullen
International Community of Women Living with HIV
New Zealand

Marina Klein
McGill University Health Care
Canada

Mary Ann Torres
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations
Canada

Midnight Poonkasetwattana
Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health
Thailand

Morten Ussing
The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS

Shannon Kowalski
International Women’s Health Coalition
United States

Steffanie Strathdee
University of California, San Diego
United States

Trevor Stratton
International Indigenous HIV and AIDS Community
Canada

Vuyiseka Dubula
Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management, Stellenbosch University
South Africa

Click here to learn more about the AIDS 2020 CCC members

| Return

An open letter from your AIDS 2020 Conference Coordinating Committee

posted on

We are proud of the communities we are – people living with HIV; men who have sex with men, transgender people, and other LGBTQI people; racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous people, immigrants and refugees; sex workers and people who inject drugs. We are scientists, clinicians and community advocates. We represent an international community, a United States and other countries around the globe that are resisting divisive politics and united in this historic and collective fight to end the HIV epidemic.  Within the United States, we represent Oakland, San Francisco, southern states and major cities across the nation. In this capacity, we are honoured to assume the responsibility as the leadership body of the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020) and take on the role of the Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC).

In just under two years, our HIV community will gather in Oakland and San Francisco for AIDS 2020 which comes at a critical moment in the global fight against HIV.  Moreover, this conference is occurring at a critical point in the history of the host country, the United States. Never has it been more important to make our collective voices heard.

With great challenge comes great opportunity. We know from experience that the conference has the power to unite diverse voices to confront harmful policies and draw international attention and resources to ending the epidemic. We came together in Vancouver in 1996 to usher in the HAART era.  We came together in 2000 to face AIDS denialism in South Africa. Now, the selection of the US is giving us the opportunity to stand up and seize this moment – and leverage this powerful platform – as a united community and to drive meaningful change.

We had broad community support from organizations and persons living with HIV in San Francisco and Oakland to hold the meeting in the Bay Area. Moreover, key political leaders in California all committed their support to AIDS 2020. We believe in this opportunity so much that we are committing our time over the next two years to fulfil important roles within the AIDS 2020 CCC and to make this committee one that is responsive to the needs of all people living with and at-risk for HIV.

In assuming our roles on the CCC, we commit to planning an impactful AIDS 2020 agenda that allows us to celebrate and learn from our successes while constantly pushing for advances in science, programmes and policy. Over the coming months, we will be seeking your input, and working closely with the International AIDS Society and partners to ensure that the conference is as accessible as possible to all who wish to attend. We are committed to a global gathering that gives a voice to all communities, shares solutions, and advances the conversation to end this epidemic.

We are excited to head to the Bay Area of California, a part of the world deeply entwined with the history of the global AIDS response – an international hub of both activism and science. The Bay Area has been at the forefront of advances from basic science to treatment and prevention breakthroughs and has been at the frontlines of advocacy, fighting back against unacceptable policies. Through the unique partnership of Oakland and San Francisco we can show two sides of the same coin—the successes that San Francisco has had and the struggles that Oakland is still facing.

Every host city or country comes with its own immigration challenges and we recognize the specific challenges we will face in the US. However, strong political commitment is the backbone of a meaningful and impactful conference. It was the unparalleled political leadership demonstrated by the State of California that helped secure the bid. California, and Oakland and San Francisco in particular, have a long history of resisting unjust policies, including immigration reform and refugee quotas.

With the selection of the Bay Area for AIDS 2020, we have the chance to elevate US and global HIV concerns on to the national and international stage. That includes shining a spotlight on and working to reform unjust policies that restrict entry into the US and other countries and perpetuate a climate of stigma and fear. This is a rare moment to put HIV and those most affected, including people of colour, minorities and the economically disadvantaged, at the centre of political discussion. It won’t be easy, but we will rise to the challenge and work together – as we always have – on fighting prejudice, racism, sexism and isolationism wherever it happens

While we recognize that we take different approaches to achieve the same goal, what has fundamentally made our community strong was the mutual underlying respect for one another. We are all fighting the same fight against HIV and we look forward to joining forces as the AIDS 2020 CCC to do this together.

Sincerely,
The AIDS 2020 Co-chairs

Anton Pozniak, International Chair
Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust
United Kingdom

Cynthia Carey-Grant, Local Co-chair, Oakland
formerly Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases
United States

Monica Gandhi, Local Co-chair, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco
United States

Signed by your AIDS 2020 CCC members:

Adeeba Kamarulzaman
University of Malaya
Malaysia

Andrew Ball
World Health Organization

Beatriz Grinsztejn
Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Disease – Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
Brazil

Carole Treston
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
United States

Chris Beyrer
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
United States

Erika Castellanos
Global Action for Trans Equality
The Netherlands

Hyman Scott
San Francisco Department of Public Health
United States

Javier Bellocq
The Global Network of People Living with HIV
Argentina

Jintanat Ananworanich
Military HIV Research Program
United States

Joe Hollendoner
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
United States

Judith Auerbach
University of California, San Francisco
United States

Kathie Hiers
AIDS Alabama
United States

Kevin Osborne
International AIDS Society
Switzerland

Mandeep Dhaliwal
United Nation Development Programme

Manuel Venegas
University of Washington
United States

Marama Mullen
International Community of Women Living with HIV
New Zealand

Marina Klein
McGill University Health Care
Canada

Mary Ann Torres
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations
Canada

Midnight Poonkasetwattana
Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health
Thailand

Morten Ussing
The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS

Shannon Kowalski
International Women’s Health Coalition
United States

Steffanie Strathdee
University of California, San Diego
United States

Trevor Stratton
International Indigenous HIV and AIDS Community
Canada

Vuyiseka Dubula
Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management, Stellenbosch University
South Africa

Click here to learn more about the AIDS 2020 CCC members

| Return

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