Come to USCHA in Puerto Rico

I’m writing to invite you to the 2022 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico October 8-11 at the Convention Center. This meeting is NMAC’s love letter to the people of Puerto Rico. Between HIV, bankruptcy, Hurricane Maria, and COVID, it’s been very difficult. You may recall we were originally scheduled to be there in 2020.

NMAC (National Minority AIDS Council) is going to San Juan to:

  • Highlight HIV challenges in the Latinx community,
  • Bring much needed economic development to Puerto Rico,
  • Experience a city where English is the second language, and
  • Lean into Puerto Rican culture as a lesson on cultural sensitivity.

The 2022 conference theme is Luchando Por Nuestras Vidas (Fighting For Our Lives). It honors our past and speaks to the future. Unfortunately, luchando por nuestras vida is what too many of us do daily. We are all connected in our fight for a fair and just world.

Registration is now open. To be part of the conference block of rooms, you must register first. Early bird registration fees are $490 for NMAC members and $625 for non-members.

The scholarship section is live.  NMAC has committed to double the number of A&B scholarships. The majority of scholarships will be given to people living with HIV; however, there are never enough funds to cover all the need. NMAC will be transparent with our decisions and important demographic information will be shared in our newsletter.

Language Justice
The 2022 Opening Plenary will be in Spanish with simultaneous English translation. To end the HIV epidemic by 2030, NMAC believes our movement needs to not only understand, but also celebrate the cultures of the communities hardest hit by HIV. Latinx Gay men have surpassed White Gay men in the number of new cases of HIV. They are second in numbers only to Black Gay men in a race that nobody wants to win. We are going to San Juan to give attendees an immersive experience of the culture, music, food, and values of Spanish speaking communities.

Economic Development
Local businesses, especially those friendly to community, need our support and shipping to Puerto Rico can get expensive. NMAC is asking sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees to purchase locally when possible. Instead of shipping printed materials, NMAC will use local printers. Look for a list of vendors who are friendly to community to be posted on our website. If you need temporary help while in San Juan, NMAC is working with local CBOs to identify people living with HIV, particularly people with trans experience, to be hired as temporary help. As part of our fight for economic justice, temporary help will be paid at least $15 per hour. USCHA has a huge economic impact. According to the San Juan Convention Bureau, the meeting will provide jobs to over 1,000 people for over one month.

Puerto Rico Convention Center

The 2022 meeting will be at the Puerto Rico Convention Center. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of convention centers. They can be too large and impersonal. However, it was the only space that could accommodate the meeting. At least this center is warm and inviting. No chicken lunches here. You can look for tostones, empanadillas, or mofongo. Music in the hallways will feature Puerto Rican artists including Bad Bunny, Luis Fonsi, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, and my personal fave Ricky Martin.

Hotel Accommodations
Multiple hotel blocks will be available for attendees. You must register to gain access to the official conference hotels. Rooms will be set aside in advance for scholarship recipients.

Most attendees will stay in one of two hotels. The Sheraton Puerto Rico is the host hotel and is located next to the convention center. Rooms at the Sheraton are $189-$229 per night (plus taxes). We also have a block at the Caribe Hilton. Rooms at the Hilton are $204 per night (plus taxes). The Hilton is located on the water a little further from the convention center. Buses will be provided. Hotel rooms are limited, so please register early.

COVID Protocols
NMAC is closely monitoring the conditions. All attendees are required to upload proof of vaccination one month in advance of the meeting. This information will be collected online and there are no exceptions because the space does not have the capacity to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. Thirty percent of the attendees are people living with HIV and our movement has a responsibility to their health and wellbeing. NMAC will follow all local ordinances so there may be additional protocols. Unfortunately, NMAC does not have the capacity to do both an in person and virtual USCHA. Like everyone, we are trying to figure out how to live with COVID.

I’ve missed everyone. It’s been too long. Hopefully we can hug, laugh, and cry together again. We are more than a faceless movement; we are a family. A slightly dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless. When the International AIDS Conference went to South Africa, there were plenty of skeptics. I hope this meeting can do for the domestic fight what going to South Africa did for our international efforts.

Gracias. See you in October.

Yours in the Struggle,





Paul Kawata