The IAC began in 1985 as a scientifically focused meeting, and remained as such for a number of years. In the early 2000s the community mobilised and advocated to be part of the conference, and that’s how the Global Village was born. After the first Global Village at AIDS 2004, communities felt they finally had a place where they could showcase their work and its impact to an international audience of peers. It provided an opportunity to share best practices, key learnings and ideas in order to evolve the community response to HIV. What’s more, arguably for the first time, this was a place where community could connect with those at the forefront of science and leadership at an international level.
I think people came out of the AIDS 2004 Global Village really motivated and inspired to keep things going, and so, at the next IAC in Toronto in 2006, the Global Village really took off. Since then it’s continued to grow at a rapid pace. The AIDS 2012 Global Village was double the size of the AIDS 2010 one in Vienna. I think that fact alone is a testament to the need the Global Village fills for the HIV community today. More and more people continue to come because the Global Village provides opportunities that can’t be found elsewhere.