International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa ICASA 2019 opens – The President of Rwanda Paul Kagame has called for a concerted effort in the provision of a positive response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
In his opening address at the opening ceremony to the 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) which is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, President Kagame called for open dialogues, global corporation, and stronger national health systems in the provision of positive response the condition.
President Kagame echoed the age-old issue of stigma against people living with HIV (PLHIV). He called for the need to have issues of stigma and discrimination against PLHIV addressed. Touching on the global nature of HIV and AIDS, he noted that any success that has ever been chalked has been through a collective effort of the entire globe, he called for more of such global collaborations.
On funding, he was quick to add that domestic funding was the way to go since all others were not sustainable. The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi added his voice to the call to address issues of stigma and discrimination on the continent.
The Rwandan Minister for Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba suggested that it was a vital idea that those affected by HIV are put at the center of the response, according to her, this is what has guided the successes chalked in the Rwandan Health Sector. She further called for an integration of HIV into the mainstream healthcare process. To the admiration of all, she announced that Rwanda has attained the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and made a clarion call for more collaborations towards ending AIDS.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO applauded Rwanda’s feat of achieving the 90-90-90 targets and said it was a sign that a generation without HIV was a possibility. He identified withering political commitment, declining funding, and the increasing vulnerability of young people to disease as key challenges bedeviling the global health.
Professor John Idoko, President of SAA and ICASA 2019 revealed that even though a lot has been achieved in the HIV arena in the past 40 years, these gains are dwindling with time. He, therefore, predicted that if these are not addressed, HIV will continue as a public health threat in the future.
International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa ICASA 2019 opens
ICASA is a biennial AIDS international conference on AIDS and STIs organized by the Society for AIDS in Africa. The theme for this year is AIDS-Free Africa – Innovation, Community and Political Leadership.
The conference, the 20th is being held in Kigali, Rwanda from 2nd to 7th December 2019. Like previous editions, this ICASA has assembled people of various backgrounds from several countries “to present opportunity for researchers from around the world to share the latest scientific advances in the field of HIV, learn from one another’s expertise, and develop strategies for advancing all facets of the collective efforts to end AIDS by 2030.”