My colleague, TAG's Michael Palm Basic Science, Vaccines, and Prevention Project Coordinator Richard Jefferys, asks in a recent blog post: "What Does it Take to Achieve a Community-free AIDS Conference?"

A conference being held in San Francisco from November 3-5, named "What Will it Take to Achieve an AIDS-free World?" and sponsored by the scientific journals The Lancet and Cell, is ignominiously answering the question posed in the title of this post: don't provide an option to register until less than a month before the event and charge a $400 registration fee (the public registration option at this "special rate" was only added to the conference website in the last couple of days). TAG's plea to the organizers--made in March of this year--requesting that they at least allow an option for local community members to attend without paying a steep fee has seemingly fallen on deaf ears. It is lamentable that an event attempting to look toward a brighter future should harken back to the dark days when people with HIV and community-based activists were excluded from attending scientific meetings.

TAG encourages HIV activists to reach out to the conference organizers to offer a feasible alternative to paying $400, at least for local community members seeking to participate in the critical dialog that is expected to take place. Please take few minutes to reach out to members of the conference's organizing committee:

Pamela Das (ELS-CAM) <Pamela.Das@lancet.com>
Rosy Hosking (ELS-CMA)" <rhosking@cell.com>
Kenneth Mayer <khmayer@gmail.com>
Robert Siliciano <rsiliciano@jhmi.edu>
John McConnell <IDeditorial@lancet.com>
Richard Turner <richard.turner@lancet.com>