The 2008 Positive Leadership Summit kicks off July 31 in Mexico City. About 400 HIV-positive people from 88 countries will participate, including POZ editor-in-chief Regan Hofmann.

Community leaders are convening from around the globe to construct comprehensive social responses to the worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic and to highlight the challenges that lie ahead. The two-day summit opens just before the XVII International AIDS Conference, to be held August 3–8 in the Mexican capital.

“People living with HIV are key to reversing the epidemic,” says Kevin Moody, EdD, international coordinator and CEO of the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), in a statement. “The systematic collection and analysis of the experiences of people living with HIV that formed part of the preparation process for the summit are proof that people living with HIV can contribute to a significant and important body of knowledge to inform policy and programming at national, regional and global levels.”

Also known as Living 2008, the summit will tackle key issues such as universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care programs; HIV criminalization and human rights issues; combating stigma, HIV and gender discrimination; creating effective community partnerships; and much more.

The goal for the summit is to help everyone living with HIV take active leadership roles and work with local and national government officials to implement effective programs to better respond to the epidemic.

Speakers at Living 2008 will include: Peter Piot, MD, executive director of UNAIDS; Eric Fleutelot, director of international programs for Sidaction, a French AIDS research campaign; Deborah Williams, chair of GNP+; and keynote speaker Anuar Luna, member of the Mexican Network of People Living With HIV and AIDS, as well as the National Focal Point for RedLa+ (Latin American Network of People Living With HIV).

For more information on Living 2008, visit the summit’s website by clicking here.