With their carry-ons in one hand and a passport in the other, members of our very own CIRCLE CARE Center boarded their plane for France. The reason, you ask? The International AIDS Society (IAS) meeting in Paris.

The International AIDS Society is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals. With members across more than 180 countries, IAS works across the globe to provide medication, treatment, and information regarding HIV and AIDS.

Among the many panels and discussions held at the IAS meeting was the End AIDS Coalition (EAC) — founded by fashion designer and HIV activist Kenneth Cole. Together with global partners, like UNAIDS, PEPFAR, amfAR, and EGPAF, one of EAC’s main goals is to change the way people think about HIV — from talking about the disease more to destigmatizing HIV testing.

In CIRCLE CARE Center’s private interview with Kenneth Cole, he said, “I think, to a large degree, AIDS is on some people’s minds but not on their  lips. It’s not spoken about, it’s not dealt with and it’s not out in the open still. And the stigma continues to drive a lot of this undercover, which ultimately perpetuates circumstances and probably it exaggerates it in the at-risk communities.”

Since the early days of HIV, Cole has been an activist for education and awareness of the disease. “I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist, and I’m not a public health person. But I’m able to get peoples’ attention, I’m able to shine a light on the critical points and create a call to action. And I think that has helped me enable this End AIDS Coalition.”

For the full recap of our exclusive interview with Kenneth Cole, head over to our blog!

This year also marked the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science and was attended by more than 6,000 doctors, specialists, activists, and reporters. This year, the focus was on several topics:

  • New HIV drugs in the developmental and testing stage.
  • HIV prevention, with an emphasis on PrEP.
  • HIV in children and the transmission of HIV to children.
  • The need for equal care and global health.

Want to join Kenneth Cole and the End AIDS Coalition in uniting the world to end AIDS by 2030? Visit their website for more ways you can get involved, plus information about their plans to create a cross-sector, consumer-facing campaign to help bring greater visibility to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in 2018.