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The 19th International AIDS Conference has particular resonance in a city blighted by the epidemic.

(The Root) — In Washington, D.C., whose residents include the leader of the free world, there’s an interesting juxtaposition. The ornate and imposing buildings that house our federal government stand tall over streets battered by a crushing epidemic. And, in a city all too familiar with power and authority, the rampant HIV/AIDS problem in the nation’s capital seems out of control.

From July 22 to July 27, leaders, politicians, scientists and more will converge on Washington, D.C., during the 19th International AIDS Conference, or AIDS 2012, the first in the United States since 1990. The event’s theme is “Turning the Tide Together,” and, for some, this year’s conference represents more than academic findings or roundtable discussions — the conference represents optimism and assurance.

Read more at The Root