Anyone who has attended an annual United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) has also faced a challenge upon returning home: How do you capture the scope of the event—the energy, inspiration, education, the sheer number of people!—when trying to describe it to other folks?
Thankfully, we now have social media to help us out. (And watch our video summary above with highlights from the conference!)
Search the hashtag #2017USCA and you could spend hours, if not days, scrolling through tweets, videos, pictures, quotes and more. You can also visit the conference’s website, 2017usca.org, for detailed information about the speakers, the exhibitors’ booths and workshops.
Sponsored by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), the 21st annual conference was held September 7 through 10 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington, DC. The following 15 tweets capture only a fraction of what transpired at #2017USCA, but they’ll give you a good overview—without wearing you out!
Paul Kawata (pictured below) is the executive director of NMAC. When he wasn’t speaking during a plenary session—sharing his truth, that AIDS advocacy can be lonely and depressing work at times—he was socializing and networking with the rest of us.
The opening plenary session included speeches by U.S House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. During the session, it was announced that Gilead Sciences was donating $1 million to a fund to help HIV groups affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
$1 million in funding from Gilead to help HIV organizations and patients impacted by Irma and Harvey announced at #2017USCA.
Protests are part of the lifeblood of USCA. At one point, transgender activists took to the stage to demand better representation.
Similarly, a plenary session on the power and leadership of women of color was interrupted when indigenous women demanded better representation—but not before a series of inspirational women shared their thoughts on leadership.
Side note: Check out the expanse of the Marquis Ballroom, where the plenary sessions were held. Walking around the space can be awe-inspiring.
The “U=U” campaign—which stands for “Undetectable = Untransmittable”—took center stage more than once and earned a strong shout-out from Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
Each year, NMAC sponsors youth scholars. As part of that initiative, scholarship recipients attend USCA.
But everyone at USCA is there to learn. You can attend daily workshops and classes—and peruse a hallway of poster presentations.
But it’s not all work, work, work. Sometimes, it’s WERK! Saturday night included a trans ball, hosted by Casa Ruby!
You never know who you’ll run into at USCA—from members of Congress to PrEP warriors!
And throughout the day, you can stroll through the exhibition hall, where AIDS service organizations, pharmaceutical companies, advocacy groups, government organizations and more—including yours truly, POZ magazine—share information and network at nearly 80 booths.