You would never have known it was a World AIDS conference - the Opening Ceremony was a festschrift of US backslapping. While the US was congratulated on being the largest financial contributor to the global AIDS response (although it only gives 0.19% of GDP for foreign aid in general). According to Elly Katabira, President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) AIDS2012 is an important opportunity to thank the American people and highlight the millions of lives saved as a result of generous U.S. contributions to the global fight against AIDS and its leadership in HIV research.While the US was congratulated on being the largest financial contributor to the global AIDS response, it only gives 0.19% of GDP for foreign aid in general).
What was not mentioned in was the moral agenda that inhered in PEPFAR - the disastrous ABC (abstinence, be faithful, use a condom); no funding for HIV clinics that counselled women on abortion; no funding for sex worker programs and so forth.
An evangelical style rhetoric was prominent throughout the speeches. Surprisingly (or maybe not - this is America), for a secular conference, there were 2 prayers. There was also a highly moral tone to a number of speeches: the World Bank President stated, "I challenge you to join me in harnessing the moral power and practical lessons that the AIDS movement has produced to speed progress against that other global scourge, poverty". He did not however mention the HIV risk-effects of his Bank's own development policies.
African HIV-positive women left to give the ceremony some kind of 'human' face;
, There was a wonderful use of statistics - we can do anything with numbers to show how well we are doing.