This year’s U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS (#2022USCHA)—the nation’s largest annual HIV-related gathering—takes place in person Saturday to Tuesday, October 8 to 11, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Organized by NMAC, which views HIV through the lens of race, the conference draws together advocates, researchers, thought leaders, caregivers, policymakers and allies for a weekend of speeches, research presentations, films, workshops, networking events and much more.
SAN JUAN, PR: Follow along on our Instagram stories as we post content from this year’s #USCHA2022 conference! Jasmine and Jessica are sharing news all weekend from the event! #EndTheEpidemic #LeadWithRace #USCHA @NMACCommunity pic.twitter.com/S6kGdGWykw— CAN Community Health (@CANCommHealth) October 6, 2022
Although this year’s event isn’t virtual, you can follow many of the goings-on from the comfort of your own couch if you use the hashtags #2022USCHA (or #USCHA2022) on Twitter and other social media. (Sample tweets leading up to the conference are embedded throughout this article.)
This week, we are proud to come together at #USCHA2022. During Sunday’s plenary, we will honor the art of La Brega, which demonstrates the solidarity and pride in Puerto Rico’s unwavering resolve to end the #HIV epidemic. pic.twitter.com/Q7TfCle8gW— Gilead Sciences (@GileadSciences) October 6, 2022
Give the location, this year’s USCHA will highlight Latino communities—and many events will be presented in Spanish. According to USCHA.life, NMAC describes the event’s four main plenary sessions as:
HIV in Puerto Rico and Latinx Communities
Saturday, October 8
The 2022 Opening Plenary will highlight HIV in Puerto Rico and Latinx communities with a focus on gay men. To end the HIV epidemic by 2030, NMAC believes our movement needs to not only understand, but also celebrate the cultures of the communities hardest hit by HIV. Latinx Gay men have surpassed White Gay men in the number of new cases of HIV. They are second in numbers only to Black Gay men. This plenary will be in Spanish with simultaneous English interpretation. The session will give attendees an immersive experience of the culture, music and food of Puerto Rico.
Celebrating the Art of La Brega to Help End the HIV Epidemic (presented by Gilead)
Sunday, October 9
“La Brega” loosely translates to “the hustle” or “the struggle.” It speaks to the tenacity and ingenuity that the Puerto Rican people demonstrate when responding to life’s challenges. La Brega expresses a sense of solidarity and pride in the way Puerto Ricans face and overcome adversity. While there have been significant obstacles since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, the community continues to persevere and lead the way toward a better future. Even with the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the HIV community has responded with characteristic determination and innovation. Join us for a plenary luncheon celebrating La Brega and the unwavering resolve of the HIV community to help bring about the end of the HIV epidemic.
Love In Gravity presented by ViiV Healthcare
Monday, October 10
The love we have. The love we give. The love we hold. Love In Gravity is six original stories featuring some of your favorite actors, like Robin de Jesús, Harvey Guillén, Jessica Marie Garcia, Jason Genao and Wilson Cruz, set everywhere from the halls of a Miami high school to a 6 train barreling through the Bronx. It’s all about the forces we exert on each other that draw us together and sometimes push us apart. Join us as we take you on a journey and give you a glimpse of Love in Gravity: a collection of six original stories from the gay and queer Latinx and Afro-Latinx community. Stories of love, heartbreak, intimacy and family—the places we can find each other, the places we find ourselves.
The Federal Response to the Emergence of Monkeypox
Monday, October 11
During this plenary, leaders will discuss the federal response and give recommendations on the role of the HIV Community in the fight against monkeypox.
USCHA and NHRC are both less than 2 weeks away! CEG is excited to announce that we will be having multiple workshops throughout both conferences, from October 9th-15th in San Juan, Puerto Rico. #CEGInWV #WeAreAppalachia #HIV #AIDS #USCHA2022 #NHRC2022 pic.twitter.com/JM1Iebepzd— Community Education Group (@CEGInWV) September 30, 2022
Through the four days of USCHA, numerous workshops, poster presentations and other gatherings cover topics such as:
- Taking a Harm Reduction Approach to Preventing Substance Use and HIV
- From Promise to Practice: Operationalizing Racial Justice in HIV
- Project Innovate: Building Entrepreneurs to End the HIV Epidemic
- Decriminalizing HIV Transmission in Illinois: Using Community-Centered and Data-Informed Strategies
- LGBT+ older adults living with HIV in Puerto Rico
- Healing Together: Our Collective Experience of Overcoming Trauma
- Perceived Health Effects of Marijuana Use Among PLWH During COVID-19
- Rapid Linkage to HIV Care Among Persons Diagnosed With HIV
- Addressing the Lack of Advocacy for Transmen/Transmasculine in Healthcare
- Take Control With PrEP: An Intervention for Women of Color
- Thriving With Indigenous Resilience
And that’s just a sampling! You can read the full agenda at USCHA.life.
The last time this conference took place in person was September 2019, when the event was held in Washington, DC (click here for a recap). Needless to say, much has transpired since then—COVID-19, the Biden presidency, hurricanes and monkeypox are but a few of the headline events that altered our world and the landscape of HIV advocacy. For example, COVID-19 shutdowns led to the rise of telehealth and virtual meetings—the 2020 HIV/AIDS conference as well as the 2021 meeting took place virtually.
Hey BIPOC Family attending #USCHA2022!— Ace Robinson (he/él/il/ele) (@akeliah) October 7, 2022
Come join me on Saturday at 145pm. We’ll discuss how Black-Indigenous-People of Color navigate racism within the #HIV service industry at Predominately White Institutions.
.@CDC_HIV .@NIMHD .@PublicHealth .@AIDSFoundation .@RepBarbaraLee pic.twitter.com/bWVpibbeOF
Considering that Hurricane Irma hit Puerto Rico on September 18 and many are still without power, especially in the southwestern section of the island, the USCHA organizers explained why they felt it was important for the conference to continue.
#HIV disproportionately affects the Latinx and Afro-Latinx community, accounting for a quarter of new HIV diagnoses in the US. This week, we’ll be in Puerto Rico for USCHA to engage the community on how we can work together to end the epidemic. #2022uscha pic.twitter.com/AOaO5yRMvQ— ViiV Healthcare US (@ViiVUS) October 4, 2022
“USCHA is the largest meeting to happen in San Juan since COVID,” wrote NMAC’s executive director Paul Kawata in a POZ blost post. “Since the airport, convention center and our 10 hotels are ready and excited for us to arrive, NMAC and the host committee want to support the workers and bring economic development, even if it is modest compared to the need, during this difficult time."
Kawata stressed that “NMAC would never knowingly put constituents in danger.… [The host committee] believe the entire HIV community in Puerto Rico would greatly benefit from all that the conference entails and provides for exchange of strategies, ideas and experiences learned from struggles, such as this one. Additionally, people need to feel supported and canceling the conference would send a very different message.”