Welcome to USCA!

This is going to be the largest United States Conference on AIDS. The weather is very concerning. We want everyone to be safe. The best way to stay informed about the conference is via the smartphone app. Go to Google Play or Apple app stores and search for “2019 USCA.” There are 160 workshops. The non-printed program book is 110 pages long. There are four plenaries and there will be long lines at registration and to get into plenary sessions. We apologize in advance and thank you for understanding. There is lots of interest and concerns about building federal plans to end the domestic HIV epidemic.
Hurricane Dorian

While Washington, DC is not directly impacted, attendees come from regions that might be hit by Hurricane Dorian. Your safety is our first concern. If you can’t make it because of Hurricane Dorian, USCA will refund your registration fee. Be safe and stay in touch. We just want to know you are OK.

If you are hosting a workshop and need to cancel, please inform Alison McKeithen/ amckeithen@nmac.org.

If you have a scholarship and need to cancel, please inform your NMAC contact person.

If you need to change any of your travel or hotel reservations, please do it directly with the airline and/or hotel. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to provide this service. Be sure to read and follow all the cancellation policies.
  • USCA Host Hotel: Marriott Marquis, 202-824-9200
  • Courtyard Marriott (DC Convention Center), 202-589-1800
  • Embassy Suites, 202-739-2001
  • Cambria, 202-299-1188

Thank you for understanding and contacting the properties directly.

Disruptive Innovation!!!

An HIV leader recently said, “We are only going to end the HIV epidemic using disruptive innovation.” If we repeat what we’ve always done, we will probably get the same result. Ending the epidemic plans must do things differently in order to reach the people living with HIV who have fallen out of care or are unaware of their HIV status. To use disruptive innovation means to bring the promise of PrEP to communities that were missed in early efforts. Who is this person calling for disruptive innovation? It’s the head of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield. He is also the target for a protest at the Opening Plenary.

Dr. Robert Redfield portraitNMAC supports Dr. Redfield’s mandate for disruptive innovation and our community’s right to protest and speak truth to power. We agree that we can’t do things the same way and expect different results. Our concern is that this message is not getting to the field. How can we use disruptive innovation and build comprehensive community consultations into the jurisdictional plans, particularly when a “draft” of the plan is due by the end of the year? NMAC hopes the CDC will listen to the concerns that are raised and that we all work together to achieve Dr. Redfield’s goals of comprehensive community consultation and disruptive innovation!


As a meeting planner, protests give me acid reflux. As an activist, I understand their power and importance. At NMAC, our response to protests is based on our values. We believe that protests are in the DNA of the HIV movement. It is our shared legacy from the civil rights movement to the women’s movement to the fight for LGBTQ equality to ACT-UP. We stand on the shoulders of generations who stood up and spoke truth to power.

At the same time, we also know that knowledge is power. As oppressed people, we do not always have access to the people and information that can save our communities. Attendees come to USCA to listen and learn. NMAC has a responsibility to also ensure that result.

There is no space for hate speech, bullying, or violence. Given life’s traumas, particularly the trauma of living with HIV, NMAC fights to protect all the communities that are hardest hit by HIV.

The protest at the Opening is about the CDC. Naina Khanna thinks it’s more an organized and permitted speak-out. It was organized by PrEP4All and includes the Positive Women’s Network-USA, Housing Works, Positively Trans/Translatin@Coalition, People Living with HIV Caucus, and ThriveSS.  They are concerned about molecular HIV surveillance, clinical trials, guidelines, and prevention efforts. We’ve agreed in advance that the protest will be limited to 10 minutes so attendees can hear the full presentations from the speakers.

All of the Opening Speakers were informed in advance. To their credit, nobody pulled out. NMAC shared information about the speak-out because we don’t want to surprise anyone, particularly our federal colleagues. USCA does not want to “get” anyone. Our field needs real answers to some of the most complex questions of our times. How do we re-engage and keep the 250,000 people living with HIV who have fallen out of healthcare? How can we reach all the communities that need and could benefit from PrEP? What is the scale needed to reach all these people and the goals of the federal plan? What are the roles that race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, depression, and addiction play in HIV prevention, care, and services? There will be a private meeting after the plenary between Dr. Redfield and these organizations. The goal is to have a conversation.

It is a tough time in America. There are lots of reasons to be upset, confused, and mad. Can we put aside our differences and work together to end the HIV epidemic? This will be the biggest test of our leadership.

Using Culture To Highlight Communities

USCA believes that HIV prevention and care efforts must value the culture of the communities the work is trying to reach. All too often services are based on the institution and not the clients. We use culture to connect the humanity of the communities highly impacted by HIV and the provider of services to those communities. Saturday’s plenary is a celebration of people living with HIV and Undetectable equal Untransmittable, including HIV positive singers Branden James and Jade Elektra. Mykki Blanco is hosting a master lecture on how HIV impacts his art. Janssen is sponsoring a special showing of the documentary “5B.” Cliff Morrison and I will host a question and answer period following the film. On Saturday night we get to meet with Noah’s Arc star Rodney Chester and screen “Noah’s Arc: Jumping The Broom.”

Join NMAC and the DC USCA Host Committee for a welcome reception for all USCA attendees on Thursday, September 5th. Enjoy an evening of entertainment, fellowship, and a Special Exhibition Ball featuring Dominique Jackson, Mother Elektra from “Pose!”

Just another typical year at USCA. What would the meeting be if there wasn’t a hurricane or protest or both? Thank you again for joining us. We never take your support for granted and work hard to make USCA the innovative meeting that our movement needs.

Yours in the struggle,





Paul Kawata
POZ magazine was gracious to print a special run of the magazine for USCA. I am not on the cover, but they are doing this wrap for the meeting. Thirty years is a long time and I am proud to stand with NMAC in our fight to end the HIV epidemic.