It Takes a Global Village to Defeat AIDS

Joy Freeman | 8/16/2012, 2:49 p.m.

An accord of hope, solidarity, awareness, and prevention united the forum's guests from around the world. Exhibits from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, and the Scandinavian countries, along with aboriginal and civil rights groups showcased diversity and culture at the AIDS conference.

"Black women have to talk to their partners about safe sex and engage in a dialogue about condom usage," said Joell Royal, 29, who represented the National Council of Negro Women [NCNW]. Royal, who lives in Southeast, said the role of organizations like the NCNW should be to motivate women to take control of their bodies and their health.

"We should teach women how to stay healthy and the importance of preparing and looking toward the future, professionally and personally," she said.

In addition to speaking on behalf of NCNW during the conference, Royal also works with young adults through a multimedia project that's funded by the D.C. Office of Minority Health.

"I co-founded an organization called, 'Me @ 30', which is a project geared toward students at Historically Black Colleges [and Universities] to increase dialogue about HIV as well as to provide tips and tools around career goals. We want the students to think about where they will be at 30 and life's important choices."

A diverse and vibrant space, the Global Village fostered an exchange of ideas between people from divergent backgrounds about the AIDS epidemic.

"Politicians have the power to end AIDS. We have political demands [regarding] treatment for all and rights for all. If they [the politicians] follow those demands then change will occur. We demand universal access to treatment and the end of stigmatization of AIDS," said Richard David Stranz, who originally hails from the United Kingdom, but lives in Paris.