A WYA member’s experience as staff at the aids-conference

As help staff at the AIDS conference 2010 in Vienna, I was very happy to have had the chance to be steadily in touch with speakers at many sessions and to be to certain extend their main contact person during the whole week. In that way I didn`t just learn a lot about the speakers themselves, but also about their approaches and goals (such as providing all populations with reproductive rights and services, more rights for transgender women, sex workers and MSM – Men having sex with men.)

However HIV, according to my impression, seemed somehow to be a “common denominator” that brought speakers and NGOs from all around the world together. The Global Village especially, which was accessible for everybody without participation badge, was organized as a big networking zone for each of the so-mentioned groups to fight for human rights and services.

I tried to benefit from my breaks to learn more about the different NGOs’ approaches and found myself unfortunately often disappointed by seeing that suggestions and actions such as the Uganda ABC-program*, were absent. Still I could see during discussions that many colleagues and volunteers agreed on the need in the future of more presence of NGOs who promote values such as faithfulness and not mainly “sexuality as a human right”, which nearly all the presenting organizations demanded throughout the conference.

Gerlinde Hufnagel, WYA Austrian chapter Committee member

* A Campaign based on the ABC program was conducted in Uganda between 1989 and 1995 and led to a very significant decrease of HIV prevalence among the population. This kind of program includes a strong behavioral component, since it rests on A – Encouragement to choose abstinence instead of risky sexual behavior (delay of sexual debut), B – Faithfulness as a good protection against transmission of the virus, C – Use of condom in case the person is involved in a risky sexual behavior.