Responding to the needs of Key Populations at Risk of HIV – a Call for Leadership, Delivery and Accountability

By | 7 June 2011

During the 5th South African AIDS Conference, on 8 June, United Nations partners (UNFPA, UNAIDS, IOM, UNODC) and the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation will host a satellite session (7:30 – 8:45) in Hall 7, to address key challenges that face men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), persons who inject drugs, sex workers and migrant populations in the HIV and AIDS response in South Africa. With the review of the current strategic plan on HIV and AIDS (2007-2011) it has never been more important to ensure that the development of the new strategic plan ensure leadership, accountability and service delivery for these key populations.

Recent consultations facilitated by the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, and the Joint UN Team on AIDS in South Africa indicated the need for specific actions in the new national strategic plan which includes the need to train and sensitise health care workers on sexual and reproductive health needs and other services required by MSM, sex workers and migrants. There is also a need to develop a comprehensive package for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support to complement the existing rehabilitation facilities for people who use drugs including injecting drug users. Despite the need to ensure supportive legal frameworks for sex workers highlighted in the current NSP, not much has been done to accelerate sex worker’s rights. Regional consultations highlighted the need for accelerated action on law reform and the decriminalisation of sex work.

The harmonisation of HIV and AIDS treatment protocols across borders, especially in Southern Africa has been raised as a major concern for migrant populations, who are increasingly at risk of HIV infection due to factors such as violence and poverty. The satellite session at the conference will hear from migrants, sex workers and experts working with persons who inject drugs and MSM.

With the Department of Health having already showed great support towards the rights and emerging needs of key populations at risk, UNFPA, UNAIDS, IOM and UNODC will continue to support the efforts of Government and Civil Society to ensure that South Africa reaches zero new infections, zero deaths and zero discrimination among key populations and those most vulnerable.

Where: Hall 7, South African AIDS Conference, International Convention Centre, Durban.
When: 8 June 2011, 7:30 – 8:45

Gerrit Maritz
083 235 5208

Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
Dr Andrew Scheibe
079 882 7726


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