2016 is United States Conference on AIDS’s (USCA) 20th Anniversary! As a result, NMAC decided to change all the track topics, add many more pathways, and look forward to how biomedical HIV prevention is changing our work and may create a roadmap to ending the epidemic. Change is an inevitable part of our survival. 20 years ago Dr. Ho released his seminal paper on Protease Inhibitors. His work changed our movement from one that comforts the dying to helping people live with HIV. 20 years later, biomedical HIV prevention means that care is prevention and undetectable means an inability to transmit.
Once again we are being asked to change our ways of thinking. If you are on PrEP or have an undetectable viral load, do you have to use condoms? What is safe sex in 2016? It might be time for a generational hand-off for HIV prevention.
Since 1986 we’ve known that people of color are disproportionately impacted by HIV. In 2014 people of color became the majority of all new infections and the majority of people living with HIV. I don’t have the answers, but I know it’s my responsibility to shine a light on this problem and to urgently fight for health equity and racial justice.
USCA is NMAC’s most visible program, in fact, some people think it’s our only program. Hopefully you will hear about our work to lead with race, youth initiative, PrEP navigator training, HIV & Aging, policy work, leadership development for People Living with HIV, capacity building for CBOs, National HIV PrEP Summit, e-newsletters, race workshops with health departments, monthly webinars, and our urgent fight for health equity and racial justice.
NMAC’s vision to lead with race impacts how we work. In a world full of sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, HIV-phobia, so many of us are treated like second class citizens. All who come to USCA are welcomed with open arms. You are beautiful exactly as you are. USCA is one place where we can be ourselves without judgment or discrimination. This is a value we expect of all USCA attendees.
Meeting The Conference Staff
Tara Barnes-Darby: Director of Conferences
Tara has worked at NMAC for over 18 years; however, this is her first year as the Director of USCA. I know she will appreciate your support. Phone: 202-870-0450 + Email: email@example.com
Alison McKeithen: Conference Manager
Welcome Alison back to NMAC. After a brief stint working with dentists, Alison returns to NMAC as Tara’s #2 and the person is in charge of everything that Tara does not do. Phone 202-930-2567 + Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cydney Brown: Conference Registrar
This is Cydney’s first meeting. Please be kind, we don’t want to scare her off after the first meeting. Phone 202-302-9720 + Email: email@example.com
These women work miracles with too few people and a very pushy boss. Of course, they are supported by NMAC’s board and staff. Feel free to contact them with any questions.
Getting To The Hotel
Most attendees will fly into Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL). It’s 10 miles (25 minutes) from FLL to the Diplomat Hotel. A taxi will cost around $30, uberX is $16-20, uber POOL is $15.80, Lyft is $18, Super Shuttle is $21 for round trip, public buses will be your cheapest way to get to the hotel, but you will need to transfer buses to get to the hotel.
You can also rent a car. At the Diplomat self-parking is $26 + taxes per day (it is located across the street from the hotel). Valet parking is $36 + taxes per day.
The Diplomat is the host hotel. With the $130 per night room rate, the hotel sold-out quickly. Official overflow hotels include the Crowne Plaza and Beachwalk Resort. Both of these properties will have bus transportation to the Diplomat. If you are still looking for a hotel, the Beachwalk has rooms at $164.50 + taxes if you prepay.
As mentioned in earlier communications, the Diplomat is undergoing construction. When we signed the hotel contract this construction was not planned and we apologize for any inconvenience. NMAC is working with the hotel, but half of the main lobby will be cordoned off and not open to attendees.
How To Use USCA
Your time is limited and valuable. One of the best ways to use USCA is to schedule meetings with government officials, donors, health departments, capacity building providers, other executive directors or other activists committed to the same issues. See about getting on Dr. Lansky’s (White House AIDS Czar) schedule. Have coffee with Dr. Wolitski, the acting director for the Office of HIV/AIDS at HHS. Chat with Harold Phillips from HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau. Catch-up with Janet Cleveland from CDC. Talk about ending the epidemic with Charles King from Housing Works or Mark Harrington from TAG. Speak with national executive directors like Phill Wilson (Black AIDS Institute), C. Virginia Fields (National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS) or Guillermo Chacon (Latino Commission on AIDS). I know how much they appreciate me using their real email addresses so that you can contact them directly. Where else can you go and see this many HIV leaders in the same room? Building a movement means building relationships. If you don’t know Naina Khanna from the Positive Women’s Network-USA or Cecilia Chung from Positively Trans, USCA is your opportunity to build relationships with movement leaders. It’s been my experience that most of these leaders are easy going and want to share their knowledge with others.
2016 USCA Program Book
The Program Book is slated to go online on September 9th. Right now you can see the agenda online. As in previous years, the program book will be online and not printed. NMAC does this in an effort to be greener because past surveys told us that most people threw away the program book at the end of the conference.
Less Paul, More Staff
Plenaries will feature more NMAC staff. At the Opening, Tara Barnes-Darby will thank our sponsors. At the Federal Plenary, Moises Agosto, Jackyie Coleman, and Kim Johnson will speak about race and how it shapes NMAC’s work. Matthew Rose will emcee the federal plenary. Treatment is running the Puerto Rico Plenary and the Biomedical HIV Prevention closing. Finally, Alison McKeithen will be part of the hand-off from Broward County to Washington, DC for USCA 2017.
We are pleased to announce that Melissa Harris-Perry will be part of Gilead’s Plenary on Friday, September 16th. Melissa Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University.
Melissa is Editor-in-Large at Elle.com. She hosted the TV show “Melissa Harris-Perry” from 2012-2016 on weekend mornings on MSNBC.