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Northern Europe 2010

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First Stop - Vienna Austria

The journey officially begins today with Matt leaving for Vienna. Destination - XVIII International AIDS Conference in Austria.

Want to follow along? Here's how:

Menlo Park, CA and Geneva, Switzerland ‐‐ The International AIDS Society (IAS) and the Kaiser Family Foundation will provide worldwide online access to the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) taking place in Vienna, Austria, July 18‐23, 2010. Kaiser ‐‐ an independent operating foundation and non‐partisan source of facts, information, and analysis, based in Menlo Park, Calif., USA ‐‐ is the official webcaster for AIDS 2010, providing daily coverage of conference developments on its website,

Conference Goal and Objectives

AIDS 2010 will have a positive impact on the HIV/AIDS response globally, and in Austria and the neighbouring region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in particular, with the following objectives:

  1. To increase the capacity of delegates to introduce, implement, and advocate for effective, evidence-based HIV/AIDS interventions in their communities, countries and regions.
  2. To influence leaders, including key policy makers and donors, to increase their commitment to gender sensitive, evidence- and human-rights based HIV/AIDS interventions, including harm reduction strategies for people who inject drugs.
  3. To serve as an accountability and feedback mechanism for those engaged at various levels of the response to HIV/AIDS, including policy makers and other leaders.
  4. To increase public awareness of the continued impact of HIV/AIDS and the need for responses to the epidemic through the media and other means.
  5. To increase understanding of the connection between human rights and an effective response to HIV/AIDS.
  6. To increase understanding of the synergistic relationship between the scale up of the HIV/AIDS response and other global health, human rights and development priorities among key stakeholders involved in these distinct fields.
  7. To provide opportunities for multi-stakeholder dialogue to develop creative solutions to unresolved challenges in research and implementation of HIV policies and programmes.

Conference Principles

  1. Be inclusive of people living with HIV, and other key affected populations.
  2. Be transparent in the way that the conference is planned and implemented.
  3. Engage key stakeholders throughout the world in the development of and participation in the conference programme, especially those most engaged in the AIDS response, individuals and organizations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and key affected populations, including women and girls, men who have sex with men, sex workers, young people and people who inject drugs.
  4. Ensure gender equality in representation at all levels of the planning and in the implementation of the conference.

Vienna - Friday July 16, 2010

The routine of  Conference life is setting in for Matt. Views are limited to what you can see from the Conference site...but even then, they are beautiful I'm told.

It would seem there is a seeming lack of amenities that Matt is accustomed to. These would be "nice soaps", "shampoo" and "mouthwash". I hope to alleviate some of the starkness when I arrive next week bringing "relief" supplies.

Pre-Conference Begins!

One final point of note. Bottled water is suggested if one hopes to avoid "intestinal issues". Enough said!

A Message from Matt - Wednesday July 20, 2010

"I presented the poster and it went really well.  It's ironic that 'gay boy talk' meets 'girl talk' is such a crowd pleaser, yet subject to politics in academic circles.   It made me think that it's kind of ridiculous for a scholar to 'censor' language that reflects social realities which we are studying....
Anyhow,  there were many interested people includin one man from Belgium who announced that he sought out the poster because he thought, "this is something different".
Even more, it was the poster was the site for the nexus of several colleagial meetings including "girls' who do "gay boy talk", a women who is studying the 'house'/'ball' scene among AAYMSM in SF (with Susan Kegeles), and an important stengthening of a connection with Dr. DAvid Malebranche, one of the few AA gay men doing research on AA gay men and HIV (though not youth); he was very complementary on the poster and wanted to hear all about it.  We may be able to get a critical letter of support from him on this.  Also, the gay boy talk girls invited me to meet with them for a drink later and then also invited David.  I'll keep you updated.  AFterwards, I am having dinner with Ben Perkins (now at Fenway in Boston), and talked with him about potentially partnering in the future on a multi site study of AAYMSM. 
Also, I took a picture of me with the poster and my new fan (literally one of the gay boy talk girls who had a fan with her because it is so hot everywhere here and they don't do A/C even at the convention center........).
Majors themes of the conference so far are about 'treatment is prevention' and the specific ways in which different prevention tools such as condoms, microbocide, early treatment, etc. work together to reduce chances of infection and reduce viral load (reducing further transmission).    Also, there seem to be some minor advances on the vaccine front and new ideas circulating about a 'cure' (one of the keynote speakers at the conference opening); I couldn't really recount it here because it was very clinical/medical, though I followed it on the slides...
There is much more epi research on MSM throughout the world, showing that MSM are on average 20 times more likely to be infected.  Also, a study showing that if you give MSM prevention and treatment it significantly reduces the HIV incidence overall in countries studies within each region of the world.
Well, it promises to be a busy night on the networking front.  Tomorrow I am back to GBT1."

A Message from Matt - Wednesday July 21, 2010

"Hi all,
I am half-through the conference, still working and adjusting, but have managed to get a few pics
I am sorry but I don't have admin privileges I need to re size these so they are very large and I can only attach a few
I am doing well and learning a lot, looking forward to enjoying the trip more once Andrew arrives and we have some time for vacation next week.
I will send pics one at a time.  this first one is all about the food.  The MSM Global forum (about 400 people doing work on HIV among gay men from all over the world); was invited by the mayor of Vienna for a FREE buffet at a typical Austrian restaurant.
I gained 5 pounds, but I think you would all agree that it was worth it.
The Austrians, like many in Central and Eastern Europe are into meat, fried foods bread, pastries, beer and wine...good thing I started my cholestoral meds (which BTW have already worked to bring my levels back to normal)..."

Andrew Flies to Vienna - July 21, 2010

Ok...It's time for me to catch a plane to Vienna, via Heathrow Airport in London. Sounds easy enough. Time in flight = 11 hours. Time Zone changes = add 10 hours. Add flight delays, and the total is 26 hours from Los Angeles to the front desk of our hotel in Vienna.

Dinner with Matt and the APLA team, a little time or sightseeing the downtown area, dessert of Gelato and it's time for some sleep...!


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Northern Europe 2010

Vienna, Prague, Copenhagen, Stockholm, London, Austria,Czech Republic,Denmark,Sweden,England