As I prepared yesterday to leave for my flight to the International AIDS Conference/AIDS 2014 in Melbourne, Australia the early reports posted – an undetermined number of passengers on the downed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 were enroute as delegates to AIDS 2014. For nearly a day of travel without enough information or access to internet or news updates, I sleep in fits on the plane musing about love, loss and the invisible, deep connection to all those in the work of ending HIV.
For so many of us, this work is more than a career or job – it is a way of life. We do this work because we are called. Underneath the relentless optimism and dogged determination is a fear that given whatever time we have to dedicate to HIV it will not be enough – we will not learn enough, give enough, make enough progress, we will miss an opportunity. To calm this nagging fear, we march and write and try again and innovate and rally. Our truest work is offering the best of whatever we have: a wicked smart brain, precision in a lab, boundless compassion, mad organizational skills, volunteering for the late shift, a clear rallying call, bold truth telling, skilled data analysis, open-hearted test counseling, and those who hold space with the invitation “All are welcome.” We believe the collective sum of our individual efforts is far greater than the simple sum of the parts. We throw our very best in – whatever the size or scale of that offering. By individually offering the best of ourselves, we contribute to the continuous momentum of progress that we believe will ultimately tip and become a downhill sprint toward the end of HIV. With this belief comes the invisible and powerful connection to all those who have made their own offering.
I’ve arrived in Melbourne, ready to give the best of what I have to offer. And I am ready to soak up your best offerings.
Join me Thursday for a “multilogue” on Women and PrEP (see below for info on how to participate via Twitter). The Women’s Networking Zone in the Global Village will host the “Dear HIV: Notes to the epidemic” interactive art installation – please come write a note. Hit me up with your offerings. I await you.