The 6th South African AIDS Conference opened last night in Durban. Sifiso Nkala of the TAC took the stage and accepted the Dira Sengwe Leadership Award on behalf of the TAC. The award “recognises ethical beacons and leaders in AIDS” and was awarded to the TAC in recognition of its critical role in the HIV movement since its inception.
The conference, as the HIV movement more broadly, must be led by the people for whom the ideas and decisions discussed at it mean the most – people living with HIV, yet Sifiso was the only person openly living with HIV to share the stage at the opening ceremony. In the tradition of TAC activism, Sifiso took the opportunity of TAC’s receipt of the award to address the conference audience of around 2500 on the challenges that cripple the health system, cost lives and show that the end of AIDS is not so near as some would have us believe.