Mega-conferences are exhausting events. The International AIDS Conference in Vienna in mid-July was no exception. It brought together 20,000 participants of diverse backgrounds – scientists, experts, funders, activists and people living with AIDS – and the programme was as thick as a big city phone book. It is challenging to make sense of the overall event and to get your own ideas heard.
Still, these conferences are key moments where the global narratives crystallize, where public attention is focused, breakthroughs are announced and progress is tracked. They often give rise to alliances of groups fighting for change.