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It's my first time attending an International AIDS Conference and my first time blogging for ASHM. Over the past 18months I've been working as an HIV s100 prescriber, but it seems like there is a lifetime of learning to catch up on.
I'm told by my colleagues that the AIDS Conference held in Durban 16 years ago was a turning point in our understanding and treatment of HIV/AIDS, but it's hard to believe that back in 2000 'AIDS denialism' was still a thing.
Nelson Mandela made his famous speech at the AIDS2000 closing ceremony, but Charlize Theron took centre stage at this year's opening ceremony, stating "HIV isn't just transmitted by sex. It's transmitted by sexism, racism, poverty and homophobia. And if we're going to end AIDS we have to cure the disease within our own hearts and within our own minds first". From what I understand Charlize is more intent on challenging psychological barriers rather than curing endocarditis or encephalitis - however I've noticed many people at the conference are very passionate about treating Tuberculosis.
Charlize Theron made an impassioned plea to end HIV by the year 2030, suggesting that we should only have another seven International AIDS Conferences before the next generation finishes off HIV for good. She proposed that the next generation should be called "Gen End It" and a new hashtag was born.
Get ready to see #genendit in your social media feeds over the next few years.