Joining the chorus of eleven global key population networks and over sixty U.S.-based human rights organizations, including all the U.S.-based national networks of people living with HIV, the Positive Women’s Network-USA (PWN) has called upon the International AIDS Society to immediately relocate the IAS2020 conference away from the San Francisco / Oakland Bay Area.
Positive Women’s Network-USA is an Oakland, CA-based national network of women living with HIV.
Citing the current political climate in the United States, particularly as 2020 is a presidential election year, PWN emphasized the potential dangers for conference participants and human rights violations in the U.S. under the Trump administration.
“Terrorizing immigrants. Family separations. Detentions. Targeting sex workers and LGBTQ communities. Global Gag Rule. War on people who use drugs. Closed borders. The wall. Police brutality. Racist violence grounded in white supremacy. This is Trump’s U.S.A.,” their July 23, 2018 press release states. The press release also contends that the United States’ travel bans on current and former sex workers, people who use drugs, and several Muslim countries will make securing visas to the United States challenging for communities most impacted by the global HIV epidemic.
The other primary reason for moving IAS2020, they contend, is the expense of the Bay Area. “[T]he choice of the Bay Area, literally one of the most expensive places in the world, underscores a growing divide in the AIDS movement between the public health elite and community advocates,” contends George Ayala, executive director of MPACT Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights, based in Oakland, California.
Naina Khanna, executive director of PWN, said in a prepared statement, “No act of goodwill from the IAS, its network, or even individual members of U.S. Congress can ensure visa approvals. Nor can they prevent detention, interrogation, intimidation, or exposure to violence and harm once in the U.S… We are asking IAS to meet with concerned members of civil society here in Amsterdam so we can partner with them to help move this important biannual conference so it can be truly accessible for communities most affected by HIV.”
—Reporting by Hank Trout
For more information, contact the Positive Women’s Network at http://www.pwn-usa.org.
Hank Trout, Editor at Large, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a thirty-eight-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick Greathouse. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.