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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

  • International AIDS Conference Convenes in D.C. After U.S. Lifts Travel Ban on People With HIV


    The world’s largest international AIDS conference has kicked off in the United States for the first time in 22 years. Some 20,000 people from around the world, including top scientists, diplomats and activists, are attending the week-long gathering in Washington, D.C. We’re joined by Dr. Elly Katabira, the international co-chair of the AIDS conference and president of the International AIDS Society, and by Melissa Gira Grant, an independent journalist covering the AIDS conference for The Nation magazine. [includes rush transcript]

  • Barred by U.S. Restrictions, Sex Workers Hold Alternative AIDS Summit in Kolkata, India


    As thousands gather to discuss HIV and AIDS at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., the voices of many of those most affected by the global epidemic have been excluded. Travel restrictions bar foreign sex workers and drug users from entering the U.S., unless they can obtain a waiver. Sex workers and their allies have refused to be shut out of the global conversation on HIV/AIDS, staging a six-day alternative conference, the Sex Worker Freedom Festival, now underway in Kolkata, India. We go to Kolkata to speak with Meena Seshu, general secretary of SANGRAM, a grassroots group working for the rights of sex workers and people with HIV/AIDS in India, and Annah Pickering, a former sex worker and a member of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. "Sex workers are in the forefront of fighting this epidemic all over the world," Seshu says. "It is unfortunate that the U.S. government has kept us out of these deliberations." [includes rush transcript]

  • Rep. Barbara Lee and Dazon Dixon Diallo on Confronting the Overlooked AIDS Epidemic in Black America


    The 2012 International AIDS Conference has raised hopes that the U.S. will increase its efforts to end the epidemic both globally and here at home, where HIV/AIDS continues to pose a major health threat. Every 10 minutes someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV, and many people living with the virus don’t even know it. People of color, especially women and gay men, bear the overwhelming burden of the disease. We’re joined by Dazon Dixon Diallo, a pioneer in the HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice arena, and by Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California, a leader in the global fight against HIV/AIDS who has worked to establish a national AIDS strategy. Lee represents the United States on the U.N. Development Program’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law and recently introduced H.R. 6138, calling for a global strategy for an AIDS-free generation. "The Affordable Care Act has been a really important part of the success of getting people living with HIV, for whom many are diagnosed with pre-existing conditions, to protect them in health insurance coverage," says Diallo. “Most of the states, if not all of the states in the South, are already currently planning to not opt in on Medicaid expansion. And so, that directly speaks to the level of access to care and the coverage of medications that most people who have low income or live below the poverty level can actually afford." [includes rush transcript]