Hi everyone!

We’ve arrived in Durban, and after a few days of jet-lag recovery and getting to know the city, Shannon Weber and I are starting to gear up for the conference! This year, the International AIDS Conference has a focus on Youth and how best to serve youth in the fight to end HIV/AIDS. As HIVE’s “youth reporter,” my jobs at the conference are:

  • Write articles for HIVE from the Youth perspective.
  • Interview people and gather information.
  • Explain social media to adults.
  • Participate in a panel discussion about reproductive rights and how to reach youth.
  • Put Unihorns on things that need Unihorns.

unihorn

  • Wear radical, activist t-shirts. (I would have brought my whole collection, but they wouldn’t have fit in my suitcase.)

 

The International AIDS Conference is an enormous event. Durban is expecting an influx of about 20,000 people for the 5-day conference, but many people are arriving early for pre-conferences. The whole city has been preparing; when Shannon and I were shopping at an office supply store, the man behind the counter told us his workplace had a meeting to prep employees for what to expect during the conference.

The event is hosted in Durban’s International Convention Center, and here’s a nifty little Snapchat so you can see it:

icc

This photo was taken facing away from the Indian Ocean. The ICC is about 4 blocks away from the water front. Many VIPs and other delegates are staying in the Hilton, and some meetings take place there as well.

The ICC isn’t even big enough to handle all the events that will happen at the conference. The Global Village is located on the other side of the ICC (not visible in this photo), and will host events that are open to the general public, not just delegates registered for the conference. And a few blocks from the Global Village is a parking lot full of tents where registration and material pick-up are located.

Let’s talk about this registration and material pick-up a little bit more. I would include a photo, except there were “NO PHOTOGRAPHY’ signs posted everywhere. I heard from a woman who tried to take a photo, and security caught her and made her delete the picture on her phone. We started at material pick-up where Shannon and I both got lanyards, but only she got a conference bag  :’(.

bag

The conference bags were created by women employed through Township. www.townshipbusiness.com

The bags have a lot of papers in them, but I’m most interested in the pocket programme. My mom is letting me borrow hers, because I didn’t get one of my own.

programme

The Pocket Programme outlines every event that is happening every day at the conference. But you don’t need one of these to know what’s going on! If you’re not registered with the conference and want to keep up with the happenings, you can download the AIDS 2016 app to view a schedule of events, and various roadmaps created by different organizations. Be sure to check out the Safer Conception, Reproductive Health and Family Building roadmap created by HIVE.

Even though I’ve (luckily) had very little experience with the DMV because I’m only 17, the registration tent totally reminded me of those DMV horror stories adults like to tell. There were signs directing you every few steps, a waiting area full of white chairs in rows, a TV screen displaying the next person called to a booth, and the photo on my ID badge looks terrible. But we’re all friends here at HIVE, so I’ll share it with you:

badge

You’ll notice that my badge says “Accompaniment” at the bottom. There’s different levels of registration that will get you into different areas of the event. My “Accompaniment” designation will allow me to enter all areas of the event, including poster sessions and events created by people from HIVE! Here’s the events I’m super looking forward to reporting this week:

 

  • At the Intersection of Reproductive Empowerment and Ending HIV Transmission: Expanding Safer Conception Options
    • Tuesday, July 19th
    • Panel Discussion is from 16:00-17:30
    • Located in the Global Village Session Room 2
  • Safer Conception for HIV-Affected Individuals and Couples: Synopses of Findings
    • Wednesday, July 20th
    • From 11-12:30
    • Located in the Research and Literacy Networking Zone (Global Village)
  • Use of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis during pregnancy and lactation at 2 US centers
    • Wednesday, July 20th
    • Poster is up from 8:00 – 18:30, presentation by Shannon Weber from 12:30 – 14:30
    • Located in the Poster Exhibition Area, by the Arena Entrance
  • The Getting to Zero San Francisco Consortium: Early Results
    • Wednesday, July 20th
    • Poster is up from 8:00 – 18:30, presentation by Susan Buchbinder from 12:30 -14:30
    • Located in the Poster Exhibition Area, by the Arena Entrance
  • Lessons learned from launching PleasePrEPMe.org, a crowd-sourced, location-based, searchable statewide California PrEP Provider Directory to connect consumers interested in PrEP to PrEP-friendly providers
    • Thursday, July 21st
    • Poster is up from 8:00 – 18:30, presentation by Shannon Weber from 12:30 -14:30
    • Located in the Poster Exhibition Area, by the Arena Entrance
  • The POWER health program: a novel, online, multi-modal education intervention for HIV-negative women and their male partners
    • Thursday, July 21st
    • Poster is up from 8:00 – 18:30, presentation by Yamini Oseguera-Bhatnagar from 12:30 -14:30
    • Located in the Poster Exhibition Area, by the Arena Entrance

When I’m not at these sessions, I’ll be exploring the Global Village, making videos with people I meet, and attending events that I’m interested in (mainly events related to youth, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and girls and women). Stay on the lookout for some #unihorn posts as well!

 

Taft Weber-Kilpack is a recent high school graduate from San Francisco. With a passion for reproductive rights and gender equality, Taft has volunteered with HIVE and Homeless Prenatal Program in SF, studied reproductive rights for independent projects, and made condom couture. When she’s not talking smack about the patriarchy, you can find Taft at her sewing machine (but she’s probably still fighting the patriarchy there too).