amfAR HIV/AIDS Update Conference Succeeds in Oakland
April 13, 2005—Spotlighting neglected populations and underserved communities, the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) came to Alameda County for the 17th National HIV/AIDS Update Conference. This four-day event, which began on Sunday, April 10, helped more than 1,000 professionals, community members and people living with the virus to improve care, treatment, and services, and to discuss public policy interventions designed to reduce further transmission of HIV.
“amfAR hoped the Update Conference would be well received in the East Bay community and the Foundation was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming enthusiasm and energy that everyone brought here, said Dr. Mervyn Silverman, Conference Chair and member of amfAR’s Board of Trustees. “In addition to providing delegates with the latest information, this year’s conference galvanized the community through informal networking, an AIDS Town Hall, and a ‘call to arms’ issued from keynote speakers Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Michael Bird, executive director of the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center.”
Conference delegates heard experts present on emerging issues in antiretroviral therapy, prevention outreach programs for transgendered individuals, and the continued explosion of HIV among communities of color including African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans.
In her keynote speech on Sunday, Congresswoman Lee pointed out the underlying connection between HIV infection rates and the persistent inequality with which many communities continue to struggle. “When we talk about AIDS prevention, we must also talk about the socio-economic environment in our country – such as ending poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, stigma, discrimination, ignorance and inequality – in the same breath,” the Congresswoman said.
Now in its 17th year, the National HIV/AIDS Update Conference supplies vital and up-to-date information for the ‘front lines’ in AIDS care. The conference was founded in 1987 in San Francisco where it remained through 2004. This marked the first year that amfAR brought the AIDS Update to Oakland.