USCA opening crowd
USCA opening crowd
From top: The USCA breakfast plenary draws a large crowd; the stage for the morning’s
#BlackLivesMatter speakers. Photos: Twitter/@pozmagazine.

The annual United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) opened September 10 in Washington, DC, with a breakfast plenary on #BlackLivesMatter. In addressing how the HIV epidemic affects the African-American community, the opening conference also highlighted USCA’s theme this year: “The numbers don’t lie: It’s time to end disparities!”

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D–Calif.) addressed the conference, as did transgender activist Valerie Spencer; civil rights advocate DeRay McKesson of We the Protesters; Valerie Rochester, the director of programs at Black Women’s Health Imperative; and HIV Advocate Martez Smith.

The national Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) organizes USCA, which continues this year through September 13. Other opening day events include workshops, an exhibit hall, another plenary session and master lecture series. Topics cover such subjects as youth empowerment, social media, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and transgender women living with HIV.

For more information, including the conference program book, visit and On social media, follow the hashtag #2015USCA.

Below are several tweets sent out during the opening #BlackLivesMatter plenary.