The Positive Side

Fall/Winter 2006 

Editors’ Letter


WELCOME TO ANOTHER ISSUE of The Positive Side, CATIE’s magazine about, for and by Canadians living with HIV/AIDS. In this issue, we are pleased to present a variety of perspectives and opinions on the massive International AIDS Conference (IAC), which Canada hosted last summer.

Take our cover story, for instance. As a positive woman, writer and longtime activist, Shari Margolese is uniquely positioned to report on the conference, which adopted women’s issues as its “unofficial” theme. In her article (“Front and Centre”), Shari considers then-UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis’s calls for greater attention to the impact of the epidemic on women and for a heightened role for women in confronting the epidemic. As she and many of her interviewees see it, this was undeniably valuable, but the fact is that it is only the beginning and there is a very, very long way yet to go.

The same can be said of the Aboriginal perspective. As you will read in the article by Charlene Catchpole and Michael Bailey, there was great disappointment among participants: the feeling was, for a conference held in Canada where Aboriginal issues are so critical, there was very little of concrete value. Fortunately, the conference was preceded by the International Indigenous Peoples’ Satellite, which created a forum for discussion, knowledge exchange and solidarity among Indigenous peoples from around the world. The good news is that organizers instituted a plan for similar gatherings to occur around each IAC.

These are undoubtedly timely improvements. Despite its origins as a scientific conference, the IAC has evolved into something quite different. Of course there were some important developments (see CATIE staffer David McLay’s article on treatment advances, “Good News on the Horizon,” for a survey). As important though, for the IAC of today, is the extraordinary spirit of unity, connection and camaraderie that permeated the Global Village, without a doubt the beating heart of the conference. That may be the real legacy of the event: valuable linkages were made amid a shared spirit of optimism and resolve that this is indeed the “time to deliver,” as the conference motto declared. Perhaps though, the enduring message remains: “Together, we fight on.”