During a White House event held on the eve of World AIDS Day, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the biennial International AIDS Conference will return to the United States in 2012. It will be the first time in 22 years that the event has been held in America.
“We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] community worldwide. It is an unacceptable step backwards on behalf of human rights, but it is also a step that undermines the effectiveness of efforts to fight the disease worldwide,” Clinton said.
“Hosting the International AIDS Conference in the United States is an important opportunity for the United States,” Ambassador Eric Goosby, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, said Monday in a post at the White House blog.
“Welcoming conference attendees to our nation's capital will allow America to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to ending the HIV pandemic both in the United States and around the world. Given that the conference is fundamentally a research conference, holding this event in such close proximity to the National Institutes of Health and other U.S. Government research facilities will also, hopefully, expand the level of scientific disclosure between our scientists and researchers from around the world,” he added.
Over the years, the six-day summit has attracted thousands of noted HIV/AIDS researchers, medical professionals, activists and policy makers but ti had not been held in the United States for decades because of the U.S. restriction on visits by HIV-positive foreigners which was lifted by the Obama administration on January 4.