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The HIV Research Catalyst Forum: Treatment, Prevention, Advocacy

April 20-23, 2010
Renaissance Harborplace Hotel
Baltimore, Maryland

The HIV Research Catalyst Forum: Treatment, Prevention, Advocacy (Formerly North American Treatment Action Forum—NATAF) is an unique conference focusing on community advocacy in HIV treatment and prevention research. From identifying research priorities to overcoming research barriers, HIV advocates have driven groundbreaking discoveries that have changed the course of this relentless epidemic. But with no cure or preventive vaccines in sight, rising new infection rates, and the continuing death toll, our work is far from over.

The Catalyst Forum aims to revitalize the community response to the domestic and global AIDS epidemic by amplifying the voices of community advocates in HIV treatment and prevention research. This four-day conference will provide a rare opportunity for new advocates to gain knowledge, build capacity, and sharpen skills; for experienced advocates to exchange ideas, craft strategies, and tackle new challenges; and for advocacy networks to recruit new participants and collaborators to strengthen planned or ongoing research advocacy campaigns.

Scholarships: 170 scholarships have been awarded to advocates from around the country, out of over 1,000 applications submitted. Applicants are selected based on their willingness and ability to participate in a research advocacy network in an ongoing basis after the Forum. Demographic breakdown of the Scholarship recipients can be viewed on the BLOG page.

Programming: Given the steep learning curves that can be barriers to community participation in research advocacy, the Catalyst Forum is designed to engage participants in a skills development and utilization process, through information gathering, skills building, critical analysis, problem solving, and strategy development in a dynamic learning environment.

Session formats will include:

Symposiums providing overviews on HIV research, including sessions on structural and biomedical prevention interventions, immune-based therapies and vaccines, treatment update, HIV and aging, co-morbidities, and treatment as prevention.

Skills Building Workshops providing skills and tools for research advocacy, including sessions on basic research terminology, understanding data, HIV pathogenesis, research institutions and funding, evidence-based policy in housing and incarceration, clinical trials design, community participation in research networks, drug development, and drug pricing and treatment access.

Brain Storming and Strategy Sessions providing opportunities for dialogue and debate on current challenges, identify cross cutting issues, and formulate strategies to address them. Topics include community-driven research priorities, overcoming barriers to cure and vaccine research, treatment as prevention, next steps in harm reduction, structural prevention interventions, and treatment strategy clinical trials.

A Town Hall discussing the research component in the National AIDS Strategy with Federal representatives from the Office of National AIDS Policy, Office of AIDS Research, National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The HIV Research Catalyst Forum: Treatment, Prevention, Advocacy is supported by funding from the Office of AIDS Research (OAR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and organized by the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), Treatment Action Group (TAG), and other co-sponsors (list in formation).

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