Conchita to give keynote address at 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam tonight

credit: André Karsai / TNRB

Austrian artist Conchita will be the opening ceremony keynote speaker at the 22nd International AIDS Conference tonight (July 23rd, 2018) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The 29-year-old winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 was forced to reveal her own HIV positive status earlier in the year, after a vindictive ex-boyfriend threatened to go to the press.

Something she handled with such incredible dignity, the talented artist soon had tens of thousands of new fans supporting her wherever they could.

In her speech tonight, Conchita will speak about how to face stigma and discrimination when it comes to being HIV positive.

Things that, sadly, are often just as prevalent today in many areas of the world as they were when news of the viral infection first began to hit the international news media back in the early 1980s.

There are currently 37 million people worldwide living with the virus. Although that number is likely to be markedly higher due to tens of millions of people who could be at risk of having contracted HIV not having been tested for it.

Conchita herself has been living with HIV for many years, and is as healthy as just about any other 29-year-old person could possibly be.

Due to the HIV medications she takes, and due to her being committed to taking care of her health (it does usually take both things), her HIV viral load is also undetectable.

That means it is almost impossible for her to ever be able to infect anyone else through unprotected sex. It also means her life expectancy is the same as anyone of the same age who is HIV negative.

At the International AIDS Conference, Conchita will also be part of a special session — Combating Stigma: An open conversation with Charlize Theron and Conchita — tomorrow afternoon between 13:00 and 13:30 CET.

Even though Conchita’s own HIV positive status is relatively recent news, however, that does not mean this is the first time she has worked with projects benefiting those living with HIV/AIDS.

Conchita has been heavily involved with Life Ball, Europe’s largest annual charity event for people with HIV/AIDS, for almost the last decade.

During the last two years Life Ball was held, Conchita was also both the headline performer and the host of the nationally televised event.

You can hear Conchita’s keynote speech at the 22nd International AIDS Conference tonight starting at 19:30 CET tonight via the conference’s live feed. Her conversation with Charlize Theron tomorrow should also be accessible the same way.

And, if you are new to the incredibly talented artist (And where have you been? She’s amazing!), you can find out more about Conchita on the Austrian artist’s website, as well as listen to her music on YouTube and on Spotify.

Conchita’s HIV positive announcement gives her the freedom to be anything she wants to be

About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered anime, manga, K-drama and music news for over a decade.