Due to Covid-19, the 23rd International AIDS conference took place in a virtual format this July. Three Trainers4Life: Sherifa Awudu from Ghana, Rekha Trikhatri from Nepal and Ntende Baker from Uganda and one Champion4life, Abdul-Hanan Saani Inusah from Ghana participated in sessions and share their experiences with us here.
Live Q&A sessions with world-class speakers
Every day four sessions were released across multiple time zones featuring plenary presentations, special sessions and the first-ever opportunity for live Q&A with world-class scientists and speakers. The aim of this conference was to showcase the latest developments in HIV research, present brand-new data on Covid-19 and HIV and to explain how HIV informs and intersects with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Resilience: a powerful message
The theme of this AIDS conference was how to combat HIV and Covid-19 with resilience. The participants provided powerful messages for what resilience means to them. Abdul-Hanan addresses a message to people infected with HIV: “Amidst the millions of challenges you may face, we see you, we appreciate you, we feel your strength, we are with you through all the way. We love you and keep fighting for everyone. You are #Resilient”. Both Sherifa and Rehka view resilience as a word that represents the hard working and personal sacrifice of all professionals working in the field of social and behavioral change. It is a topic that should not be addressed only by scientists but collectively from all fields of work, by focusing on the bright side and working hard, there is hope to find vaccines against these two virus.
“Amidst the millions of challenges you may face, we see you, we appreciate you, we feel your strength, we are with you through all the way. We love you and keep fighting for everyone. You are #Resilient” (Abdul-Hanan)
Source of inspiration to reflect
This conference was a source of inspiration for Trainers4Life to develop themselves at a professional level as well as to reflect on the marginalized groups who are the most affected. Rekha, explains that further: “After attending this conference I am sure that no matter what, things get better. I felt more inspired and enthusiastic for the future to continue my journey as a Trainer4Life. I strive to encourage and empower young people to fight the AIDS pandemic”. Sherifa and Abdul-Hanan think that this conference gave them the opportunity to focus their attention from the perspective of gender and sexual minorities. To conclude, they highlight the need to shift the focus from discrimination to fight AIDS collectively.