Sunday, April 07, 2013

Cape Town AIDS Forum Targets 'Zero Infection & Zero Stigmatization'

Dr. Angela El-Adas, DG - Ghana AIDS Commission
By Patrick Baidoo

The South African (SA) High Commission in Ghana says its country is ready to host the 17th International Conference on HIV/AIDS and STI’s in Africa, (ICASA 2013).

The forum which will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in December this year, is expected to attract over 10,000 of the world’s leading scientists, policy makers, activists, government leaders and civil society groups to discuss, share knowledge and deepen the awareness on fighting the disease on all fronts.

The theme of ICASA 2013 is “Now More Than Ever: Targeting Zero”, was derived from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), vision of striving for zero new HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS- related and TB deaths.

According to the organizers, Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the event has been planned two years before 2015, which is the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target date to offer a unique platform to Africa to take stock of the past achievements and challenges and to scale up the African response in the context of the MDGs.

Hence during the launch recently in Accra, the SA High Commissioner to Ghana, Madam Jeanette Ndhlovu, stated that her country was ready to host Africa’s largest conference which will provide a common platform for all to share ideas on pragmatic ways of dealing with the AIDS challenge.

“Our continent has been ravaged by this deadly disease and destroyed homes and economies thus it’s always welcoming that all efforts are continuously galvanized to deal with this epidemic”.

She assured all of her country’s commitment towards the drive to “zero new HIV and TB infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS- related and TB deaths”.

On his part, UN AIDS country director to Ghana, Girmay Haile noted that HIV/AIDS have become a great concern to leaders globally and there was a huge prevalence especially in Africa thus the conference is timely.

“Stakeholders are doing their best in the fight against HIV/AIDS but stigmatization is hindering efforts of stakeholders, so the need to address all matters related to the disease”.

Leaders globally have attempted and continue to find ways of finding solutions to the global epidemic. Statistics show Africa is one of the continents with high HIV/AIDS prevalence.

Due to this, the various countries have come under a common accord to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa is the biggest programme business calendar of the continent. It creates the platform for leaders and stakeholders to share ideas on best practices on fighting AIDS in their various countries.

Spearheaded by the SAA, the 17th edition of the conference will be hosted by South Africa, in Cape Town from 7th to 11th December, 2013. While the Ghana AIDS Commission is the umbrella in charge of Ghana’s preparations to the conference.

So for the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission the conference offers a unique platform for Africa’s response to the HIV/AIDS fight and Ghana’s vision in particular.

“The Commission sees our collaboration with SAA as essential tool towards the eventual elimination of HIV/AIDS in Ghana, Africa and globally”.

About The Society for AIDS in Africa

The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the custodian of ICASA was founded in 1989 at the fourth International Symposium on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa (now ICASA) held in Marseille, France by a group of African scientists, activists and advocates in response to this epidemic.

SAA envisions and African continent free of HIV, TB and malaria and their debilitating effects on communal and societal structures, where people are socially and economically empowered to live product lives in dignity. For more information on SAA please visit

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