... So said the former American president Roosevelt. The opening ceremony is going well. It is a hot Washington day.

It is now feasible once again for this conference to be held in the USA after more than two decades. The recent policy  change in allowing international openly positive HIV people to be welcomed in the USA is an important and much needed step forward.
The AIDS 2012 theme is "Turning the Tide Together".

The platform speakers - scientists, community leaders, faith based leaders, celebrities and importantly those infected and affected share much enthusiasm and encouragement as well as messages of hope. There is a repeated call that ongoing political and  community responses and resources are needed to allow science to continue to increase the knowledge needed to deliver progress in searching for cures and vaccines, and to continue to make available the essential education, prevention and treatment services. For me, the image of hope that most resonates is the image of the AIDS quilt panel - "The Last One". See attachment. I saw this yesterday at a preconference event.

Platform speakers included a 24 year old HIV infected woman from Zimbabwe, the Washington gay men's choir, two recently imprisoned Iranian physicians, an African - American pastor, HIV program leaders, the president of the World Bank, an actress and the UNAIDS director with more to follow...