By Navdha Malhotra
On 22 July, the HIV world's attention will be turned to Washington DC as the International AIDS Conference gets underway.
The conference, held every other year, sees around 20,000 people living with, affected by, interested in and working to address HIV come together to discuss the epidemic and its response.
The theme of this year's conference is "Turning the tide together", recognising that we are at a unique moment in the epidemic. With new scientific advancements in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention we have reached a defining moment. We now have the potential to end the HIV epidemic.
Giving a voice to older women affected by HIV
HelpAge CEO, Richard Blewitt and HIV Policy Advisor, Rachel Albone, other HelpAge staff working on HIV and representativesfrom our partner organisations will be attending the conference. Older people living with and affected by HIV will also be there. They will be speaking about how the epidemic affects them and what they think needs to change.
HelpAge will be highlighting the human rights violations older women living with HIV suffer as a result of their age, sex, HIV status and economic position. We are hosting a high-level panel discussion on the issue with UNAIDS on 25 July.
Ruth, an older woman living with HIV from Kenya will be speaking on the panel on HIV and ageing, alongside policy makers and researchers from around the world. We will be launching our new film showing the human face of the epidemic, as three older women tell their stories of living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Film: The impact of HIV on older women
Recognising and supporting older carers
Rachel Albone said of the conference: "At AIDS 2012, HelpAge is calling for the recognition of and support for older carers. Throughout the week, we will be running a programme of events that highlight the crucial work caregivers do.
"We want to highlight the fact that the epidemic is ageing with steadily increasing numbers of older people living with HIV. Older people must be included in HIV statistics."
HelpAge will also be hosting a HIV and ageing booth with the Terrence Higgins Trust and ACRIA. In our role as a founder and facilitator of the Caregivers Action Network and chair of the Care and Support Initiative of the UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development , we will be hosting the Caregivers Networking Zone.
HelpAge is also launching a new range of HIV publications, guidelines and manuals, developed with support from the UK Big Lottery Fund and based on our experience of implementing HIV programmes with older people in sub-Saharan Africa.
Follow HelpAge at AIDS 2012
Watch this space for live news, blogs and tweets from the HelpAge team about their progress at AIDS 2012. Let's make AIDS 2012 the conference that pays attention to older people!
Follow us on Twitter or track #AIDS2012 to keep up with the conference.
Download our latest Ageways highlighting the need to include older people in HIV statistics.