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Entre Hermanos: Conference fights HIV
Entre Hermanos: Conference fights HIV
by David Garcia - SGN Contributing Writer La decima-séptima Conferencia Internacional del SIDA se ha llevado a cabo en la Ciudad de Mexico, con más de 20-mil personas interesadas prestando su asistencia. El tema de "Accion Universal Ya" caracterizo la reunión, y proveyó el enfoque para el trabajo que se realizo.

La conferencia dio inicio con discursos por varios líderes mundiales. El presidente Mexicano, Felipe Calderon emfatizo la importancia de combatir la homofobia, el estigma y la discriminación en la batalla contra en VIH. Dijo que los grupos vulnerables deben tener acceso a los servicios de prevención del VIH al igual que tratamiento. Varios discursantes dijeron que mas fondos se necesitan para la prevención y el tratamiento. Peter Piot, del projecto contra SIDA de la ONU, dijo que los fondos aporcionados son insuficientes.

Aunque hay muchas drogas nuevas para tratar el SIDA, no todos tienen acceso a ellas. Durante la conferencia algunas naciones se organizaron para manifestar en contra de las empresas farmacéuticas, y pidiendo más fondos para tratamiento. Una protesto consistió en una procesión fúnebre, con los manifestantes vestidos de calavera y carteles criticando a la compañía Abbott. Alegaron que Abbott se rehúsa de permitir la venta de drogas contra el SIDA genéricas, creando barreras para personas en países pobres.

La conferencia incluyo una gran variedad de talleres sobre programas de prevención para hombres gay, trabajadores de sexo, y personas que usan drogas de inyección; programas que se han comprobado ser efectivos en reducir el VIH. También se sintió una esperanza en cuanto al desarrollo de una vacuna contra el VIH. Los esfuerzos de crear tal vacuna se han dificultado, pero aun es esfuerzo es crítico.

Lo que mas me gusto fue la oportunidad de participar en las manifestaciones. Participe en una Marcha Internacional para Mujeres, y camine junto con miles de personas de todo el mundo por las calles de la Ciudad de Mexico, clamando "Todas mujeres, todos derechos." Otra marcha proclamo en contra de la homofobia, el estigma y la discriminación. Como Mexicano, estas marchas fueron para mi algo imporante, ya que hicieron visible a estos temas en la capital mexicana. Crearon el espacio para dialogo sobre el VIH en nuestra comunidad latina a la misma vez que ayudo a reducir el estigma. Regrese a Seattle con el sentido de poder trabajar en mi propia comunidad. Hay todavía mucho trabajo que hacer, y si quieres unirte a la lucha entonces ponte en contacto con Entre Hermanos, llamándonos al 206-322-7700 o enviando email a Info@entrehermanos.org



The 17th International AIDS Conference was just held in Mexico City. More than 20,000 researchers, policymakers and advocates gathered for the conference, with a theme of "Universal Action NOW." This theme fueled the conference with a sense of urgency and revitalized the need for us to work together internationally in the fight against HIV.

The conference opened with several world leaders and health officials speaking. The Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, stressed the importance of combating homophobia, stigma and discrimination to fight HIV. He noted that all vulnerable populations need access to HIV prevention education and treatment services. The general consensus of the speakers was that more funding is needed for prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. The executive director of UNAIDS, Peter Piot said, "There is not too much money going to AIDS, but too little."

Although there have been many advances in the treatment of HIV, not everyone has access to these drugs. In response to this lack of access, it was great to see many countries organizing at the conference protesting certain drug companies and calling for more treatment funding. One protest held a funeral procession, dressed in all black with skeleton masks, a coffin and signs protesting Abbot Laboratories. I learned that this pharmaceutical company charges high prices and refuses to allow generic versions of their HIV drug that has been effective in treating HIV, thereby creating a barrier to access for many in developing countries.

The conference was full of many interesting sessions about prevention programs working with Gay men, sex workers and injection drug users that were effective in reducing HIV infections. There was also a sense of hope revisited for HIV vaccine efforts, which had experienced a setback, but remains an important and critical component to the prevention of HIV.

My favorite experience of the conference was being able to participate in the organized marches calling for action. I participated in the "International Women's March" and was among the many supporters from all over the world, marching down the streets of Mexico City shouting, "All women, all rights!" Another march was organized, "Against Stigma, Homophobia and Discrimination." As a Mexican, these marches were important to me, as they made HIV a visible disease in Mexico City. They created an opportunity for more dialogue about HIV in the Latino community and most importantly helped to reduce the stigma of the disease. I left the conference and returned to Seattle empowered to take action within my own community. There is still much that needs to be done in the fight against HIV and we can become more powerful if more of us join efforts. If you would like to volunteer to help fight HIV in the Latino community of Seattle, I urge you to contact Entre Hermanos and take action now. Si se puede! Yes we can! Contact us at 206-322-7700 or info@entrehermanos.org

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