Durryle's blog


First, I just want to thank HIVRCF for allowing me to attend this conference.Hands down, this was the best learning experience that i've had at a conference in YEARS! The plethera of information coupled with the hundreds of years of experience from all of the HIV activists in the room= success! So, thank you HIVRCF!

My only criticism of the conference is that there was not enough information about HIV and young people. The rates of HIV infection in young people is on the rise. We need to be thinking about how we can intervene earlier and earlier in the lives of young people.

Next go round, I would love to see specific tracks dedicated to youth. Also, I would like more information/ space for people living with HIV to talk about their experiences, med, etc. I would also like to see longitudinal data on babies born with HIV and learn about their developmental trajectories.

Again, THANKS! I loved the Forum and would recommend it to EVERYONE I know!

Open Space Technology As A Tool To Engage People Around The Multiple Social Drivers of HIV Transmission

Today, I had a fantastic time in the session entitled Engaging Prevention Research Advocacy to Address Social Drivers of the Epidemic in the United States. Of course I went to this affinity group because all too often people focus exclusively on behavioral interventions without examining the other issues that fuel the epidemic in this country particularly for communities of color.

My group was introduced to an activity called Open Space Technology. Open Space Technology was fashioned after the exchanges witnessed at African market places. The concept of bartering provides valuable examples of the power that individuals have over seemingly fixed pricing with pricing only being one example. One can also consider the exchanges with patients and health institutions as another example--with the idea behind bartering empowering people to engage with institutions to receive a good based on what they deem appropriate.

Some core principles governing Open Space Technology are:

1. People have power, value, and agency and therefore have the right to set their own agendas, topics, standards, etc.  
2. That people should only stay in a group only as long as they are feeling like they are contributing/gaining knowledge. Once you are done, move on. 
3. It is okay for people not to contribute or be "butterflies" on the wall.

In short, we were polled and asked to think about the various issues that we wanted to talk about related to HIV. We than assembled the topic and once all topics were placed on the board, people had the option to choose which discussion they wanted to participate in. In our case, conversations ranged from talking about oppression at large to more specific issues like advocating for the decriminalization of behaviors of HIV positive persons.  read more »

Symposium Reflection: Confronting the Social Drives of HIV incidence in the US

Hey Everyone!

I must say that I have been completely floored (both positive and negative) by the goingson at the HIV Research Catalyst Forum. The amount of information that has been provided has literally changed my way of thinking and understanding of the field of HIV.

I attended the Prevention Symposium 1: Confronting the social drivers of HIV incidence in the U.S. and man was I conceptually challenged. I was challenged within that setting to really look closely at the various modes of HIV prevention. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was look for more new ways of thinking about HIV and I found it. I was amazed by the level of integrative approaches that activist and researchers are taking to try to address the high rates of HIV infection.

The gist of the symposium was that there needs to be more strategies employed to address that high rates of HIV infection among communities of color. Understanding the casual pathways that lead to HIV transmission can provide a variety of new and creative opportunities to intervene. For example, if a project can provide housing and job opportunities for homeless HIV positive persons and link them to care, then getting treatment decreases viral load and therefore risk of transmission. This type of creativity really elucidates the social, cultural, and structural issues that directly or indirectly impact a person's access to HIV information and services.

The housing project was just one example of how people are thinking differently about trying to address the high rates of HIV infection. This thrills my heart soooooo much-- that at least some scholars, researchers, and activist are starting to think more critically about complex and intersecting factors that impact people of color and their access.

So, round one goes to HIV Research Catalyst Forum for meeting my expectations me 0!

Excited For HIV Research Catalyst Forum

Hey Everyone!

My name is Durryle and I am extremely excited about what this conference represents! For me, this conference really marks the beginning of my journey into the vast and extensive field of HIV Research. As a person who received bare bones prevention information and little to no information as to how the HIV virus actually effects the body-- this gathering of activists, health educators, medical providers, and researchers will provide me with a more holistic view of HIV.

I am particularly interested in hearing whether or not there are new ways of thinking and talking about the HIV virus. If discourse reflects worldviews, than how is our talking and thinking informing the type of research and treatment strategies people are embarking on? From my perspective, the search and destroy method has not yielded the results that we would have hoped. So theoretically, are there other strategies that might prove more fruitful moving forward than those that have traditionally relied upon search and destroy methods? I am not sure, but I am hopeful that some of my questions will be answered at the HIV Research Catalyst Forum.



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