USCHA Almost Sold Out

Thank you to everyone who registered early for the 2022 United States Conference on AIDS. The meeting had the largest number of early bird registrations. Close to 3,000 folks are on the list to attend. As a result, NMAC made the difficult decision to keep registration open for only 500 more delegates. It is first come first served and we will close when we reach capacity.

The conference made this difficult decision because it is unfair to take people’s money when there are so few reasonably priced hotel rooms still available in San Juan. USCHA has sold out of the group rate at five hotels. Hotel rooms are still available in San Juan, just not at the lower negotiated USCHA group rates. Now the gathering must refer people to Airbnb or more expensive hotels. While USCHA gets no support, most of Airbnb’s rental fees go to locals who can use the money. We will only provide buses between official conference hotels and the Puerto Rico Conference Center. Please make sure your Airbnb is close to an official hotel so you can catch the free USCHA bus.

Hotel rooms have been set aside for scholarship recipients. They do not need to worry. Thanks to our major sponsors Gilead, ViiV Healthcare, Janssen, and Merck, USCHA is giving away a record number of scholarships. However, we still turned down many very qualified applicants. Moises Agosto, NMAC’s Treatment Director, put together an article about the scholarship process for Thursday’s e-newsletter.

There is very limited exhibit space. Around 90% of the exhibit hall has been reserved. It will be sold out soon. Exhibitors get passes to attend the conference. Click here to reserve a booth. Given the challenges of shipping to Puerto Rico, we encourage them to use San Juan based companies for printing, booths, receptions, and give aways. Not only does this bring much needed resources to the local community, but it also lets you bypass shipping headaches. Many partners host private receptions, so please consider working with the local community to identify locations and businesses that support the HIV community. USCHA is the first large conference in PR to happen since COVID and locals are excited for our meeting.

As an example of working with regional providers, USCHA contracted with Connecting Paths to sew all the conference bags. Connecting Paths is a local nonprofit that fosters community entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico. Since hurricane Maria (2018) they have trained 87 women and 20 of these women are sewing the conference bags. Please watch their Spanish language YouTube video to learn more. USCHA is an opportunity to bring much needed economic development to Puerto Rico. Please support the businesses that support the local HIV community.

While space is very limited, we want to encourage our federal partners to send key staff to meet with attendees. The community desperately needs your leadership and partnership to complete our mission to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. Show up to show your support for the leaders on the frontlines. There may be budgetary issues since the meeting happens in the new fiscal year and NMAC is willing to work to make any needed accommodations. Please contact Tara Barnes-Darby for assistance.

NMAC wants to thank the local host committee co-chairs:

I’ve put hyperlinks to their emails so that you can contact them about restaurants, bars, and companies that support the HIV community in San Juan and Puerto Rico. NMAC also has staff who live in San Juan. Damian can answer questions about local agencies, culture, and community. Please email Damian with any questions.

It’s only July and the meeting is almost sold out. Most people will think it’s because we are going to PR. I want to believe our movement is committed to language justice, reaching the Latinx community, and learning in an environment when English is the second language. Building a movement is key to our ability to end the epidemic. USCHA is the place where we come together to check-in, learn, and nurture our family. The world is going crazy, and we need each other more than ever.

Damian Cabrera-Candelaria
Program Manger Treatment

Yours in the Struggle,

Paul Kawata

Paul Kawata