Some early reflections from AIDS 2014

The opening ceremony at AIDS 2014 was pretty amazing and filled with a lot of emotional highs and lows.

It is probably not a surprise to anyone that a major part of the evening focused on the tragedy that unfolded with MH-17. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS spoke emotionally about his connection with the delegates who were supposed to be attending the conference here with us in Melbourne but whose plane never arrived. Condolences also went out to all the Dutch researchers attending the conference, whose country lost so many people under tragic circumstances.

A real highlight of the night for me was listening to Ayu Oktariani who was on the board of the Indonesian Positive Women’s network and is involved in an agency called YouthLEAD. She spoke about the fact that “HIV cannot be cured only by science”: a fact that is well known by many positive people across the world, and those of us working in HIV.

Something that Ayu said and has come up many times since her presentation really resonated for me.

Why is sex and talking about sex so closeted all around the world?

I think the crux of the issue is that we basically don’t talk about it. When we do talk about sex with others, it is often in the context of “medical talk” and “being safe”. This really misses the point that people also have sex because it’s fun, they enjoy it and in cultures everywhere it is a part of normal human intimacy.

Perhaps part of tackling HIV is also about looking at the way our society thinks and talks about sex and our relationship with others.

What do you think?

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1 comment on “Some early reflections from AIDS 2014”

  1. Susan at pozhet Reply

    Thanks Rachel. I think that the issue of sex and lack of talk about sex and fear of sex ed (both gay and straight and all types of sex) came up on the QandA session about HIV which broadcast from the Conference the other night.

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