Closing Plenary: It’s Time to Stop Being Your Target and Become Your Priority

Former Surgeon General Dr. Koop wisely stated, “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” At present, the promise of biomedical prevention is not equitably distributed. We are in a liminal moment; one where we could end the HIV epidemic in some communities while half of others seroconvert. As we rightfully promote PrEP and a broader HIV science agenda, we cannot afford to ignore factors that matter in determining risk, care, access and health outcomes, including race, gender identity, sexual orientation, geography, and economics. At the same time, “targeting” individuals by race or gender or class cuts against the very progress we are trying to make. To properly make the health and wellness of certain populations a priority, we must view their lives as being inclusive of HIV, but not exclusively defined by it. How do we reimagine an agenda that prioritizes rather than targets? How do we change the conversation – and our very language – to reflect deep knowledge, profound respect, and a commitment to justice? How can we infuse these values and this approach into our work in research, policy, training, capacity building, and implementation? There are choices that need to made quickly. Are we willing and able to do things differently?


  • Review and analyze key points from plenary and workshop sessions in terms of their ability to redefine an agenda that priorities rather than targets.
  • Describe and demonstrate ways in which language, resources, assumptions, and focus can be shifted to reimagine more ethical and effective approaches to combating the epidemic.
  • Identify strategies by which attendees from multiple disciplines (providers, policy makers, front line staff, researchers, advocates) can work toward this type of meaningful progress.

Master of Ceremonies: Ken Williams, Ken Like Barbie


  • Sarit A. Golub, PhD, MPH, Hunter College and Graduate Center, City University of New York