When the International AIDS Conference sets up shop at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center July 22 to 27, just a few locals, relatively, will likely be registered to attend. Sure, you might be able to enjoy the occasional webcast, courtesy of the Kaiser Family Foundation, but you won't likely be rubbing shoulders in during plenary sessions with Dr. Anthony Fauci, pioneer of HIV discoveries, or with Sharon Stone during the opening session.
Then again, when the International AIDS Society (IAS) organized AIDS 2012, they didn't forget about you. Welcome to the Global Village.
''The Global Village is a diverse and vibrant space where community gathers from all over the world to meet, share and learn from each other,'' reads the AIDS 2012 literature. ''It is a space for community to demonstrate the application of science and good leadership. It is also a space that invites conference participants to see how science translates into community action and intervention.''
Though that may sound a little dry, the village, sponsored primarily by Positive Action, includes a video lounge, a stage, a youth pavilion and even rumors of a flash mob. (Don't take Metro Weekly's word for it, but you might want to stick close to the village main stage around 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 25.) Most importantly, the Global Village, which runs the duration of the conference, is free and open to the public.
Outside the conference itself, organizers have gone the extra mile to include youth in AIDS 2012. The IAS DC YouthForce, for example, celebrates the young people with the no-cover, all-ages, ''Red Hot Party'' Youth Reception at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW, Monday, July 23, from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Follow the Global Village on Twitter @GVAIDS2012.