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AIDS 2024, the 25th International AIDS Conference


AIDS 2024, the 25th International AIDS Conference, calls on the global HIV response to unite behind a simple principle: Put people first!

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What does putting people first mean? 

Putting people first means thinking of solutions from the point of view of those most affected.  

For example, rather than thinking of hard-to-reach populations, we should think of hard-to-reach health services. HIV responses must be built for the individual, especially the most vulnerable.  

Why is it important? 

Ending the HIV pandemic as a threat to public health and individual well-being will require the worlds of research, healthcare, activism and policy to agree on fundamental principles. Putting people first is one such fundamental principle and we call on all actors in the HIV response to align with this approach. 

Sharon LewinIn a world plagued by inequality, putting people first across all aspects of the HIV response is a moral imperative and the only viable route to progress. Whether in the design of clinical trials, the formulation of policies or any other aspect of our efforts, people living with and affected by HIV must be not just beneficiaries but the actors driving our efforts.

Sharon Lewin
IAS President and AIDS 2024 International Co-Chair
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How can we get there? 

From using inclusive language to ensuring that community voices are heard, there are many people-first approaches that we invite all of us in the HIV response to consider and, wherever possible, emulate.  

Here are some concrete examples of what people-first programmes may look like in practice: 

  • Health services: Delivering health services built around people’s needs while considering the many components that constitute people’s identities, including gender, age and socioeconomic status. This approach is sometimes referred to as differentiated service delivery and person-centred care.  

  • Research: Making communities part of research efforts can accelerate progress and empower key populations. For example, this article outlines community-based participatory research and how it can be applied in practice, and this article focuses on meaningful involvement of women living with HIV.

  • Language: Language is powerful, and we want to ensure that it is used in the service of all those living with and affected by HIV. The harmful impact of stigmatizing language is well documented – JIAS published one of the earlier advocacy articles on the power of language. At AIDS 2024, we insist on using people-first language. Here is a helpful resource to guide you on what language you should steer clear of and what we encourage you to use instead.

Join the call to Put people first!

Do you have examples and stories from your personal or professional life? How has a people-first approach impacted your life or the lives of those around you?

We are starting an online conversation and need your voice to help amplify a people-first approach. We invite all organizations and people living with, affected by and working in the HIV space to share the personal impact of putting people first.

Post your message, photo or video testimonial using the hashtag, #PutPeopleFirst, and encourage your friends, colleagues, clients, service providers and partner organizations to share their stories.

Learn more and share your story!

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The IAS promotes the use of non-stigmatizing, people-first language. The translations are all automated in the interest of making our content as widely accessible as possible. Regretfully, they may not always adhere to the people-first language of the original version.