HIV conference to be held this month at Vanderbilt

A community oriented conference on HIV/AIDS research will be held at Vanderbilt this month, focusing on the roles communities play in the successful development of prevention research (vaccine), treatment research, and traditional models of HIV/AIDS outreach.

The conference is about the marriage of major HIV/AIDS research entities with traditional community work, like that done at Nashville CARES.

“This conference will provide individuals involved in HIV/AIDS related research and traditional outreach efforts an opportunity to meet and discuss the critical role that communities play in the successful development of new ways to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS,” explained Josh Barnes, a program coordinator with the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Trials and one of the conference organizers. “We’ll also examine the need for and challenges to integrating HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and research efforts into a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS.”

The conference – “Sharing our Strengths: Communities and HIV/AIDS Research” – is set for July 22, 23, and 24 at the Vanderbilt Commodore Ballroom Student Life Center in Nashville . There is a $40 registration fee, but Barnes said no one would be turned away for lack of funds. Anyone who wishes to attend the conference can apply for sponsorship in various amounts up to $40. Due to a limited conference enrollment, early registration is encouraged.

The conference is sponsored by the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program and Vaccine Community Advisory Board, The Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for AIDS Research, and the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition. 

On Friday July 22, a welcome and kick-off party is open to the public and free, sponsored by the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition. Those who wish to attend only the party are encouraged to register at

On Saturday July 23 and Sunday July 24, sessions are designed primarily for Community Advisory Board (CAB) members involved in HIV/AIDS research, and for those people who are involved in the HIV/AIDS field. 

“CAB members from research sites in Birmingham and St. Louis will join with CAB members from various HIV/AIDS research programs in Nashville to address issues related to community engagement and community mobilization around the fight against AIDS,” Barnes said. “While attendance is open to the general public, in order to ensure that adequate educational materials are available and to ensure the overall success of the conference, this year’s conference will be limited to 50 attendees. Those who are interested in attending should register at”

Edd Lee, director of community education and outreach for the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, is the keynote speaker and panel discussion moderator.

Conference sessions will be facilitated to maximize group dialogue so that attendees can learn and teach each other. Examples of some workshop topics identified so far include:


  • The history of community involvement in research and in the HIV/AIDS movement
  • Community involvement and research ethics- examining the connections
  • Integrating research into HIV/AIDS services and prevention, building a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS
  • Land-locked: HIV/AIDS leadership in the middle of the country
  • Social Justice and the fight against HIV/AIDS
For registration information visit or call 615-322-HOPE.


Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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