Johannesburg – Researchers, HIV programme planners, government and civil society representatives, religious and community leaders will gather in Durban, South Africa from 31 March to 3 April for the 4th South African AIDS conference. More than 3,500 from across the Southern Africa region are expected to attend the conference. With the theme “Scaling up for Success”, the conference will share best practices in HIV prevention, treatment and care and will identify barriers to scaling up responses to the HIV epidemic in Southern Africa.
Recognising that southern Africa is the region most affected by the HIV epidemic, Mark Stirling, Director, Director of UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa said: ‘An effective HIV response calls for a regional exchange of knowledge, experiences and approaches as well as cross border actions, if we are to meaningfully impact the HIV epidemic and turn it around. It is encouraging that neighbouring countries have been welcomed to contribute to the 4th Southern Africa AIDS Conference. This inclusion will lend a richer experience and hopefully move us closer towards turning this epidemic around’.
Supporting work towards achieving universal access for the region’s AIDS responses UNAIDS will bring together experts such as Mrs Elizabeth Mataka, UN Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa, Ms Vuyiseka Dubula from the Treatment Action Campaign, Dr Khumo Siepone, Director of Botswana’s HIV/AIDS Department, Dr Fareed Abdullah from the Global Fund and Dr Brian Brink from Anglo-America at a satellite session, with the title ‘Universal Access – where do we go from here?’, on Tuesday 31 March to discuss what needs to be done to sustain and accelerate progress in achieving universal access in the region.
In 2007 1.5 million new infections occurred in Southern Africa, accounting for almost one-third of all new HIV infections around the world. Multiple and concurrent partnerships has emerged as a key factor driving the HIV epidemic in the region and has now been increasingly prioritized within HIV prevention efforts. To this end the satellite session ‘Addressing Multiple and Concurrent Partnerships’ taking place for Tuesday 31 March and organized by the UNAIDS regional support team on eastern and southern Africa is designed to encourage an exchange of experiences, ideas and research on multiple and concurrent partnerships within HIV prevention efforts in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on strategy, measurement and emerging strategic information. The session will be chaired by Helen Jackson from UNAIDS and will see the participation of Andy Seale, also from UNAIDS, Marelize Gorgens from the World Bank and Rayhana Rasool from Soul City.
On the same day a satellite session on incidence will bring together HIV prevention and monitoring and evaluation experts to discuss why incidence measurement is of increasing importance to determine the dynamics of the HIV epidemic in order to evaluate and plan HIV prevention Approaches. The session, hosted by UNAIDS, will include presentations from Dr Mark Colvin from Maromi Health Research, Dr Alex Welte from the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics of the University of Witwatesrand and Dr Marelize Gorgens from the World Bank.
UNAIDS is also participating in a ‘Southern Africa Men who have Sex with Men Satellite Conference’ and a pre-conference session on African cities and HIV on 30 March.
The conference sessions are organized around six tracks:
- Basic Sciences
- Clinical Sciences
- Epidemiology, Prevention and Public Health
- Social and Economical Sciences, Human Rights, and Ethics
- Best Practices and Programmes
- Community Exchange Encounters
For more information about the 4th South African AIDS Conference, please visit the conference’s website www.saaids.com.
UNAIDS is an innovative joint venture of the United Nations, bringing together the efforts and resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and ten UN system organizations in the AIDS response. The Secretariat headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland—with staff on the ground in more than 80 countries. Coherent action on AIDS by the UN system is coordinated in countries through UN theme groups, and joint programmes on AIDS. UNAIDS’ Cosponsors include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank.