July 25, 2008
TALKING ABOUT HOMELESSNESS
Mexico City: Housing advocates want the IAC to see the big picture
The link between homelessness and AIDS has for too long been neglected at International AIDS Conferences (IAC) past. But the need for housing as a crucial response to the epidemic will take center stage at the International Summit on Poverty, Homelessness and HIV/AIDS satellite session on August 3 at this year's IAC in Mexico City. The meeting will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Session Room 7. Experts hailing from South Africa, Haiti, Thailand, the Caribbean, the U.S. and Canada, as well as homeless people living with AIDS, will speak at the revolutionary meeting to create a plan to address homelessness and poverty as roadblocks to defeating the AIDS epidemic.
After the interactive summit—conducted in Spanish, English and French—participants will march to the IAC headquarters at the conference center and deliver a declaration demanding that "that policy makers address the lack of adequate housing as a barrier to effective HIV prevention, treatment and care; and that all governments fund and develop housing as a response to the AIDS pandemic."
"It's not just wealthy countries like the U.S. that can address homelessness among people with AIDS. This is an issue that demands global action," said Housing Works President and CEO Charles King. A growing body of research has shown the importance of housing for people with AIDS, including a four year study in Chicago, reported on by the Wall Street Journal. The study showed that putting chronically ill people into housing saved lives and taxpayer dollars. For more evidence, click here.
The two-hour Mexico City satellite session is organized by the National AIDS Housing Coalition, Housing Works, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, with committee members from Thailand, China, Kenya, South Africa, the U.S. and Canada.
Demands for housing for people with AIDS won't abate after the satellite session. Housing advocates are planning to make a racket for the rest of the conference, until every one of the thousands of IAC delegates understands the connection between housing and HIV prevention and health care.
For more information about the summit e-mail Christine Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you're going to IAC and want to join a network of AIDS advocates preparing for the conference, contact Kaytee Riek at email@example.com to join a pre-conference listserv.