Inside perspectives from Mexico City
As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been following the news coming out of the International AIDS Conference, research, reports, ideas, and opinions are flying fast and furious from Mexico City. And I, for one, am finding it hard to sort it all out, or to get a sense of the big picture on some of these issues.
Happily, I’ve found a blog with posts from a public health worker currently attending the conference. It has great overview information and the writer’s analysis of some of the big themes of the conference. (It also has some interesting traveller’s notes on conditions in Mexico City.) The writer has a very different perspective than I do — especially in that I’m looking at all this specifically as a Christian — and I don’t agree with all the opinions mentioned, but these articles are great food for thought and definitely give some of the clearest, most concise, and most insightful pictures of the International AIDS Conference that I’ve seen.
I found the following posts especially interesting/helpful:
>> The IAS zeitgeist: Great post on the big picture of what’s going on at the conference: the interplay of science and politics; the centrality of inequality, oppression, poverty, and stigma; and the extreme diversity of the international AIDS activist community. I can’t pass this by without highlighting two great quotes from the post:
- “This is both the science and the politics of AIDS. As an epidemiologist, you can’t separate them. They’re a single entity.”
- “To be in a place where everybody from an Indian (i.e. Hindu) drag queen to gay activists from San Francisco to religious leaders from Indonesia to Nuns from Budapest and Doctors from Harvard to recovering addicts from Russia to former prostitutes to the former President of the United States are together and have equal stature is unique. This has got to be the only place it can happen.”
>> Mr. Science: Fascinating and surprisingly readable look at the biology of the HIV virus, and how that makes vaccine or cure research difficult.
>> The Big Guns: Anthony Fauci, head of the National Insitute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS
>> The ARV Scale Up: A quote — “there is an official quasi-commitment on the part of UNAIDS, the Global Fund, B&M Gates, the WHO, and the rest of the gang, to provide global access to HIV treatment by 2010. I say quasi because UNAIDS is being weaselly about it, and also because I’m not sure that even the most impassioned advocates really believe it is possible.”
Many thanks to Nathan (whom I’ve mentioned before) over at Public Health & Human Rights, for sending me a link to the blog I’ve been talking about. And speaking of Nathan, check out his recent 4-part series of posts on “Health Care, Health, and Justice,” which talks about the problems and possible solutions for health care in the United States. This is one of the best and clearest discussions of these issues I’ve read. I especially recommend Part 4, titled “Health care as a human right.”