Oxfam in Mexico to push for universal access
Mexico City abounds with life, but this week it´s even more abuzz. More than 25,000 people from around the world have come together to demand universal action now on HIV/AIDS and the energy is electric.
Activists and service providers, funders and researchers, big Pharma and sex workers, presidents and hairstylists have converged for the 17th International AIDS Conference, the first time the conference is being held in Latin America. The formal program kicks off this evening (Sunday, August 3rd) with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon along with Bills Clinton and Gates and thousands of the real heroes of the struggle to rid the world of AIDS — people living with HIV and care givers, allies and advocates who support them.
Oxfam´s delegation is large and diverse, bringing together courageous and creative partner organizations from Africa, Asia and the Americas. As well, we have staff from a number of Oxfam affiliates and 17 dynamite young women and men from 14 countries who are tackling HIV/AIDS in their home communities — active members of the Oxfam International Youth Partnership.
We`re here to link and to learn, to profile our work and to influence the outcome of the conference. For the past few days we´ve been prepping and planning, setting up displays, distributing materials and organizing stunts to draw the world´s attention to our key message: more can and must be done urgently to meet the commitment to assure universal access by 2010 to prevention, treatment, care and support for all those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
We are focusing our efforts on strengthening public health systems, assuring access to affordable generic medicines and giving women greater power to protect themselves by having ready access to free, effective female condoms.
Annie Lennox is here to help get our message out. She’s a delight — smart, knowledgeable, committed; a passionate spokesperson and great media magnet who has worked for years to build public support for action on AIDS.
The truth be told, any global event of this size is a bit of a zoo. But it´s also a critically important opportunity to have an impact, spurring governments North and South to live up to their promises and helping galvanize the power of mobilized, informed citizens to end prejudice, stigma and discrimination.
Working with our partners and allies, Oxfam will be doing all we can this week to make a difference.