Consider for a moment that you want to start a restaurant. What would you do? Would you find out what kind of food people liked? Would you poll people who are willing to spend money in restaurants and ask them questions? Like, “What kind of food do you eat?” and “What restaurants do you frequent, and why?” Or even, “If you could have any kind of food you wanted, what would it be?”
Why is that? Because your customers are the most important thing, right?
How would this be any different if you were hoping to prevent and cure a disease? Wouldn’t you ask the people who were most vulnerable to the disease, “What kind of services would help you prevent this disease?”
Not if you’re the 2012 International AIDS Conference. US immigration law denies entrance into the country to anyone who has engaged in sex work in the past 10 years—even if they have no criminal convictions or work in a country where it is legal. In other words, the 2012 International AIDS Conference, happening in Washington, DC in July, will happen without one of the populations most vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.
Darby Hickey and Cassandra Warren say this:
Without the input, knowledge, and resources of those most directly affected by the disease, there is no chance of stopping the AIDS epidemic.
You wouldn’t open a restaurant without talking with potential customers. Why would you have an AIDS conference without one of the most vulnerable populations? Go learn what you can do at RH Reality Check.