IAS 2015 was a science-based conference that also happened to be highly relevant to those living with HIV. In fact one could argue that it was 90% about people living with HIV. Fitting therefore that the HIV community was well represented, although numbers I don’t have.
How did they get to Vancouver? Some were on community scholarships or media scolarships (like myself) or there as representatives of their home organizations who had managed to fiinancé their attendance. Some paid their own way. However they got there, it’s one of the highlights of any such gathering to meet and forge connections with peers from throughout the world.
PositiveLite.com wanted first-hand impressions of what it’s like to attend a conference like this, the challenges people living with HIV face in this setting and what they get out of it. So we talked to two of them.
In the video below you’ll see Christian Hui of CPPN (Canadian Positive People Network (CPPN)/ Reseau Canadien des Personnes Seropositives (RCPS)). talking about his personal conference highlights, the role of activists and people living with HIV there as well as the emerging role of CPPN, a new national voice by and for Canadian people living with HIV.
(You can join CPPN/RCPS here.)
Christian is followed by Claudette Cardinal from the Positive Living Society of British Columbia who talks about understanding the science, networking and her role in women’s issues.
It’s not always easy for people living with HIV to attend these big events, but not impossible either. Foster connections with HIV organizations (not just one), express your desire to attend to anyone who will listen and watch out for scholarship opportunities are your best bets for successful sponsorship. Once there be a diligent attendee, report back what you have learned to your home community when you return home – and you stand a good chance of going again. If conferences are for you, that is. They are hard work and can be exhausting – but the rewards are there.