An alliance of key population-led networks, networks of people living with HIV, treatment activists, and supporters has formed to organise an international community-led HIV conference in 2020, following the decision to host the 2020 International AIDS Conference in the USA. Entitled HIV2020: Community Reclaiming the Global Response, the event will take place in Mexico City, 6th – 8th July 2020, to run concurrently with the 2020 International AIDS Conference in San Francisco and Oakland.
In March 2018 the International AIDS Society announced that the 2020 International AIDS Conference would be held in the USA, despite ongoing travel bans affecting sex workers, people who use drugs and people from predominantly Muslim, African, Caribbean and Latin American countries. The decision has been strongly protested by many groups, including at AIDS2018 in July. Community advocates released a statement at the time condemning the decision and outlining steps to be taken to ensure future AIDS Conferences fulfil the needs of communities at the heart of the HIV response.
The HIV2020 Alliance’s decision to hold an event parallel to the 2020 International AIDS Conference is not without precedent. When the IAS hosted their last event in the US in 2012, sex worker activists and people who used drugs organised their own events in India and Ukraine in protest. In fact, key populations have been organising their own pre-conferences at IAS events to specifically address the needs of their communities for over a decade.
HIV2020 will be key population-led, inter-disciplinary, sex positive, and will focus on the following topics: community-led responses to HIV; funding and service disparities; sexual and reproductive health and rights; universal health coverage; decriminalisation of HIV transmission, exposure, and non-disclosure, drug use, homosexuality, and sex work; gender equity and trans inclusion; economic and racial justice; eliminating homophobia, transphobia, and whorephobia; ending violence against cis and transgender women, gay men, sex workers, and people who use drugs; and coalition work. Specifically, HIV2020 aims to:
- Build safe and friendly space for the equitable exchange of information, knowledge, experiences and expertise by ensuring diverse voices are heard and reflected;
- Promote community-led solutions and good practice in sexual health and human rights;
- Amplify community voices in calling out the inequities experienced across key populations and specific legal restrictions on some key populations’ right to freedom of movement;
- Demonstrate the importance of meaningful involvement of communities in health and human rights responses;
- Reaffirm community commitments and priorities to global health and human rights responses (inclusive of HIV);
- Model an innovative approach for deliberating new research, tools, and strategies and their real-life implications, with communities as equal partners.
Read more about HIV2020’s aims here. You can download the full information note on HIV2020 above.
Organisers are calling for statements of solidarity with HIV2020. Advocates, community-based organisations, healthcare and service providers, researchers, public health officials, and funders are invited to endorse the event in writing, on social media, and during high-level global meetings.