While my video coverage will frequently illustrate the ways in which the plane tragedy still affects AIDS 2014 delegates and the Australian community, there is also a sense here that the massive conference is ready to march forward and address the task that always remains at hand: fighting HIV.
At Beyond Blame, a pre-conference devoted to the issue of HIV criminalization, Edwin Bernard of the HIV Justice Network in the United Kingdom explained that he sees real progress being made in the legal battles involving people with HIV in the U.S. The Brit may not be ready to change his citizenship, but he does have a certain awe for American activism on this issue -- and a hopefulness that the work being done in the States will have international implications for the better.
Meanwhile, the city of Melbourne is coming alive with messages of activism and artistic expression around HIV. Prevention campaigns dot every tram stop and subway, and art installations -- such as the work of Positively Fabulous -- are on the streets and pavilions throughout town. The messages of AIDS 2014 are by no means limited to the enormous conference center downtown.
The conference is now beginning full force, and that means more events and inspiring people to introduce you to in the days ahead. Watch soon for an appearance by Chris Beyrer, the incoming head of the International AIDS Society, which produces this conference, as well as Destiny Haz Arrived, an aboriginal man in full Wonder Woman regalia promoting messages of HIV prevention. The contrast between those two interviews says everything you need to know about the diversity of delegates and advocates here.
Thanks for watching, my friends. I'm working on my "G'day, mate!"