LIVE Coverage from the 16th International Conference on HIV/AIDS in Africa (ICASA). Check back daily for news, updates and videos.
12.7.11 | Rose Wilcher, FHI 360
In 2011, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) set a target date
of 2015 for the elimination of new HIV infections among children. The goal, set forth in
the Global Plan Toward the Elimination of New Infections Among Children by 2015 and
Keeping Their Mothers Alive, is to be achieved through a four-pronged strategy:
1. prevent primary HIV infections among women
2. prevent unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV
3. prevent mother-to-child transmission with antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis or treatment
4. provide care, treatment and support for HIV-positive women, their infants and their
The second prong, preventing unintended pregnancies among HIV-positive women,
has received less attention than prong three, which relies on the use of ARVs for HIV
prevention.1 Emphasizing the second prong — by increasing knowledge of and access
to the voluntary use of contraception — could have a large impact on the prevention of
mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT).2
Several modeling studies have demonstrated the impact and cost-effectiveness of
contraception on PMTCT. The most recent modeling study by colleagues at UNAIDS and
the Futures Institute shows that if the unmet need for family planning were eliminated in
20 high-burden countries, there would be 6 million fewer unintended births and 61,000
fewer HIV infections among children in the year 2015 alone.3 A 2007 analysis estimated
that family planning methods prevented 6,100 mother-to-child infections in Uganda,
whereas antiretroviral prophylaxis prevented only 2,200 vertical infections. Moreover, an
estimated 5,300 infants were still infected with HIV as a result of unwanted fertility.4
The benefits of family planning reach beyond PMTCT — by reducing maternal and infant
deaths, by improving the health of mothers and their children and by improving the
status of women. Family planning is also associated with a number of economic gains,
including lower costs for PMTCT, lower costs for pediatric treatment and reduced costs for
mitigating the consequences (such as lower birthweights) of unintended births. The annual
cost savings associated with preventing unintended HIV-positive births with family planning
ranges from US$50,000 in Vietnam to more than US$6.8 million in South Africa.5 Another
cost-effectiveness analysis determined that adding family planning services to PMTCT
services would halve the cost of each infant HIV infection averted — from US$1,300 per
infection averted with treatment to US$660 with family planning.6
Despite the value of contraception, the family planning needs of HIV-positive women
remain largely unattended. Small-scale surveys indicate that the rates of unintended
pregnancies among women living with HIV range from 51 percent to 84 percent in some
African countries. 7, 8 A new analysis of Demographic and Health Survey data found that
about 14 percent of HIV-positive women in six African countries have an unmet need for
family planning, even though they are in regular contact with the health system for their
The global plan to end mother-to-child transmission will likely fall short of its goal if
programs continue to miss opportunities to provide family planning information and
services to women and couples with HIV who do not wish to become pregnant.2 The
integration of family planning and HIV services can be an effective strategy for doing
so.10 This strategy has yet to be translated into widespread practice, but it could enhance
country-level efforts to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
1 Wilcher R, Petruney T, Reynold HW, et al. From effectiveness to impact: contraception as an HIV prevention intervention. Sex Transm Infect. 2008;84(Suppl 2):ii54-ii60.
2 Mahy M, Stover J, Kiragu K, et al. What will it take to achieve virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV? An assessment of current progress and future needs. Sex Transm Infect. 2010;86(Suppl 2):ii48-ii55.
3 Stover J, Mahy M. The cost-effectiveness of family planning in reducing the number of children with HIV infection. Presentation at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), 2011 December 4–8, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
4 Hladik W, Stover J, Esiru G, et al. The contribution of family planning towards the prevention of vertical HIV transmission in Uganda. PLoS ONE. 2009;4(11):e7691.
5 Reynolds HW, Janowitz B, Wilcher R, et al. Contraception to prevent HIV-positive births: current contribution and potential cost savings in PEPFAR countries. Sex Transm Infect. 2008 Oct; 84(Suppl 2):ii49-53.
6 Stover J, Fuchs N, Halperin D, et al. Costs and benefits of adding family planning to services to prevent motherto-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). Washington, DC: The Futures Group; 2003.
7 Desgrees-Du-Lou A, Msellati P, Viho I, et al. Contraceptive use, protected sexual intercourse and incidence of pregnancies among African HIV-infected women. DITRAME ANRS 049 Project, Abidjan 1995–2000. Int J STD & AIDS. 2002 Jul;13(7):462-8.
8 Rochat TJ, Richter LM, Doll HA, et al. Depression among pregnant rural South African women undergoing HIV testing. JAMA. 2006 Mar 22;295(12):1376-8.
9 Mahy M, Frescura L, Alfven T, et al. Do women with HIV received adequate family planning services? An analysis of DHS data. Presentation at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), 2011 December 4–8, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
10 Wilcher R, Cates W, Gregson S. Family planning and HIV: strange bedfellows no longer. AIDS. 2009; 23(Suppl 1):S1-S6.
Rose Wilcher is a Senior Technical Officer at FHI 360 based in Durham, North Carolina.
12.7.11 | VOA: InFocus
Originally posted on Voice of America: InFocus
Peter Lampty is FHI 360’s President, Public Health Programs.
12.7.11 | UNAIDS
Originally posted on UNAIDS.org. Photo by UNAIDS/J. Ose
Under the banner “Getting to zero,” UN leaders and community representatives engaged in a passionate exchange on sustainable funding for the AIDS response in Africa. The discussion was overshadowed by mounting concern over the recent cancellation of Round 11 by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, UNICEF Regional Director for Africa, As Sy together with Director of the HIV Department at WHO Gottfried Hirnschall, answered questions posed by the audience gathered at the community dialogue space at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa conference.
Mr Sidibé was asked to briefly introduce UNAIDS’ vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discriminations and zero AIDS-related deaths. “For me, this vision is a way to respond to social injustice. All people can have access to the HIV services they need, if we make it a political priority,” said Mr Sidibé.
12.7.11 | Reuters UK
Originally posted on Reuters.com by Aaron Maasho
The fight against AIDS risks being set back years by a global financial crisis, the head of the United Nations campaign against the disease warned Wednesday.
About 34 million people worldwide are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, just over two-thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Incidence rates are falling and access to treatment is expanding.
However, a decline in donor contributions has caused a funding crisis within the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the largest body for HIV funding, and is dampening optimism about an eventual end to the disease, UNAIDS director Michel Sidibe told Reuters in an interview.
12.7.11 | KC Team
Originally posted on www.keycorrespondents.org.
Leading African musicians have collaborated for a song to raise awareness about male circumcision. The song, which was commissioned by the Champions For An HIV-Free Generation and promotes safe male circumcision in targeted countries, has been launched at ICASA.
The song had its first airing on Monday (5 December 2011) and was launched by His Excellency, Festus Mogae, the former President of Botswana and Chairman of the Champions. The song is a collaboration of Zimbabwean guitarist, vocalist, performer and composer Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi; Botswana-based and internationally recognized artist Vee Wa Mampela; and Winky D, Zimbabwean Reggae-Dancehall artist. The musicians performed the song live during a reception at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa.
Safe male circumcision shall have its focus in 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa region, which have high HIV infection rates and low circumcision rates. The countries include Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The campaign is being supported by the World Bank, PEPFAR, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and partner agencies.
12.7.11 | UNAIDS
Originally posted on UNAIDS.org. Photo by UNAIDS/J.Ose
On Monday 5 December, discussions in the community dialogue space at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) focused on financing the AIDS response. On this theme, UNAIDS and UNDP co-hosted the event ‘Donor dialogue session: Funding the grassroots and sustainable financing of the HIV response in Africa.’ The major part of the discussion revolved around the current economic situation and the fact that donors are decreasing their funding for AIDS. The session allowed for direct interaction between donors and civil society representatives, and participants seized this opportunity to call for sustained funding for community organizations.
Set up as a panel of donor representatives, the audience asked panellists questions from the floor. Civil society participants were concerned about the cancellation of the Round 11 by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). As one member of the audience highlighted “we fear the consequences of discontinuing HIV treatment as a result of this cancellation.” The Global Fund representative Mark Edington, Director of Country Programmes, assured participants that the Global Fund is fully operational and committed to continue working with civil society organizations. Mr Edington also affirmed that “people already on ARVs are our top priority, and there is no question that we will maintain funding available for those already on treatment.”
Originally posted on UNAIDS.org
12.7.11 | UNAIDS
Originally posted on UNAIDS.org. Photo by UNAIDS/P.Weggins
The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) launched its Strategic Plan for 2011 – 2015 at the side-lines of the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). The SAA presented its strategy, together with the long-term vision of an African continent free of HIV, TB and Malaria.
Writing the foreword for the strategic plan, UNAIDS Executive Director Mr Michel Sidibé said that the recent progress seen in the AIDS response, such as the 20% drop in new HIV infections over the past 10 years, could never have been possible without the dynamic drive of the scientific community.
“The Society for AIDS in Africa [as the] custodian of the International Conference of AIDS and STIs in Africa offers researches, policy-makers and communities a platform for exchange, mobilization and promotion of scientific innovation,” said Mr Sidibé.
12.7.11 | ICASA
Originally posted on ICASA2011addis.org
Various activities, ranging from a disability networking zone, community dialogue, a youth pavilion, to Drop-In Center and Condomize zone were held in the community village. Different local and international organizations presented their work and the community village served as the perfect location to meet and share experiences. Other activities such as traditional dance, a coffee ceremony and fashion show also allowed delegates to network informally.
Different HIV and AIDS related discussions were held over a coffee ceremony, while the Condomization corner generated lots of traffic, amusing people with condom presentations and engaging delegates by offering the chance to create their own condom pin.
12.7.11 | UNFPA: Kristin Helmore
Globally, the vast majority of people who are HIV-positive – 80 per cent – contracted the virus through unprotected sex – that is, by not using a male or a female condom. This raises a crucial question: Since condoms can save lives and prevent disease and unintended pregnancies, why don’t more people use them consistently? And what tactics do people employ to encourage their partners and clients to use condoms?
These are questions that the UN Population Fund , UNFPA, seeks to answer through a series of interviews with condom promoters – and users – worldwide. We begin on World AIDS Day, with Morocco and Egypt, two countries with a low prevalence of HIV, little open discussion of who is at risk and not enough access to condoms. In these and other countries, the stigma attached to HIV and condoms is a barrier to prevention and puts many people at risk.
12.6.11 | (RED)
Support FHI 360’s partners – the Global Fund, PEPFAR, and the ONE Campaign.
12.6.11 | FHI 360 Nigeria
Dr. Chukwuemeka Anjoe works for FHI 360 Nigeria and the GHAIN project.
12.6.11 | IRIN Plus News
Originally posted on IRIN PlusNews
UNAIDS and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have launched a five-year plan to have more than 20 million men in 14 eastern and southern African countries undergo medical male circumcision by 2015 as part of HIV prevention efforts.
According to mathematical modelling by the two organizations, achieving 80 percent coverage among males aged between 15 and 49 by 2015 – an estimated 20.3 million circumcisions – would avert some 3.4 million new HIV infections by 2025. The plan also aims to have established a sustainable national programme for infant circumcision of all boys up to two months old, and at least 80 percent of male adolescents.
12.6.11 | FHI 360
View more photos here!
12.6.11 | FHI 360
View more photos here!
12.6.11 | FHI 360 Kenya
For more information about the Male Circumcision Consortium, read the MCC News.
Dr. Mores Loolpapit is an Associate Director, FHI 360 and the Senior Manager for the Male Circumcision Consortium.
12.5.11 | The Monitor
Originally posted by Boitshepo Giyose of The Monitor (Botswana)
There is a perception out there that Africa does not have a cancer problem. Not sure where that came from, but this perception is long outdated.
It probably could be that Africa generally has been rather focused on tackling communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. But the reality is that non-communicable diseases or diseases of lifestyle and modernity as are sometimes known, for example cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) diseases, are taking a lion’s share and claim more lives daily. Cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria combined.
12.5.11 | Voice of America
Originally posted on Voice of America
Leaders of the global fight against AIDS say male circumcision is among the most overlooked keys to reducing the incidence of sexually transmitted infections. At the international conference on AIDS in Africa, major funders are urging nations to take greater responsibility for education, treatment and prevention campaigns.
The United Nations AIDS organization and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) announced a five-year campaign to persuade men in 14 African countries to voluntarily submit to circumcision. Recent studies suggest that circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV infections by roughly 60 percent.
12.5.11 | FHI 360
UNFPA’s Condomize Campaign talks to Degrees Blog about what it means to be Condomized.
The Condomize Campaign (www.thecondomizecampaign.org) is an initiative campaign of the United Nations Population Fund, in partnership with the Condom Campaign and the Interagency Condom Task Team on comprehensive condom programming. They work to reduce the stigma about condoms and work to increase access to quality condoms, education and community mobilization.
12.5.11 | UNAIDS
Originally posted on UNAIDS.org
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) today launched a five-year action framework to accelerate the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention. The framework—developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, PEFPAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank in consultation with national Ministries of Health—calls for the immediate roll-out and expansion of VMMC services in 14 priority countries of eastern and southern Africa.
“Voluntary medical male circumcision is a high-impact and cost-effective prevention tool that will bring us one step closer to our goal of an HIV-free generation,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, who unveiled the action framework at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), together with partners.
12.5.11 | Hannah Burris, FHI 360
Yesterday President George W. Bush was welcomed to the opening ceremony of the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) with a standing ovation. This is the 30th year of the HIV epidemic and ninth year of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – founded by President Bush while he was in office – which many in Africa celebrate as a life-line for much needed AIDS drugs.
Also attending the opening ceremony were the mayor of Addis Ababa (where the conference is taking place), Mr. Kuma Demeska; UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Michel Sidibé; a civil society representative, Ms. Melao Phillipus; and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi.
All speakers showered the former U.S. president in gratitude, and commended the Obama Administration for its continued dedication, while urging the world to keep up the momentum. “The funding for HIV is declining for the first time this year,” said Sidibé, referencing the Global Fund’s decision to postpone Round 11 funding. “We are in Africa at a make it or break it moment.”
One of the themes of ICASA this year is ownership, which in large part means country-leadership. “Here is Africa we are acutely aware of how fragile our gains are,” said Prime Minister Meles Zanawi. “[We must] most urgently devise innovative African-led approaches.”
On the heels of disappointing news from the VOICE trial and a less than promising funding landscape, those of us attending ICASA still look to the week ahead with guarded optimism. There are 10,000 attendees at this year’s conference, including politicians, care-providers, researchers and advocates, brought together by a common cause. As stated by President Bush, “I recognize these are lean budget times… but we cannot retreat… there is no greater priority than saving human lives.”
I think we all would agree.
12.5.11 | UNICEF
Originally posted on unicef.org
As the 16th International Conference on AIDS in Africa (ICASA) gets underway in Ethiopia, UNICEF is appealing to governments and donors to keep up their support for HIV and AIDS programmes across the continent and seize the opportunity to eliminate new infections among children.
“The huge investment in tackling HIV and AIDS during past years is finally paying off. Today in sub-Saharan Africa, fewer children are born with HIV, fewer children lose their parents to AIDS and more young people know how to protect themselves and their partners. Millions of lives have been saved and many families and communities have been kept intact”, said Elhadj As Sy, the UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “It is critical that we safeguard these gains and meet the commitments we have made to reach all children.”
12.4.11 | Peter Heinlein, Voice of America
Originally posted on Voice of America.
An international conference on AIDS in Africa opens in Addis Ababa with an address by former U.S. president George W. Bush. He is being honored for his role in creating PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, the largest ever health initiative dedicated to fighting a disease.
Former president Bush received a hero’s welcome Sunday during a brief stopover in Ethiopia. Amnesty International may be calling for his arrest, but in Ethiopia and many other AIDS afflicted developing countries, Mr. Bush is remembered for PEPFAR, which has pumped $39 billion into bilateral programs to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
Bush, his wife Laura Bush and daughters Jenna and Barbara visited St Paul’s Hospital and Medical College in Addis Ababa, where mothers living with HIV told how PEPFAR-funded programs had helped them deliver healthy babies.
A woman, who gave her name as Belatech, said she was pregnant and already taking antiretroviral drugs when she came to St. Paul’s. The baby she delivered is HIV-free.
Belatech says she is so grateful that she now works with other HIV-infected women to ensure that their children are born healthy.
Bush is credited with the initiative that created PEPFAR. Ethiopia is one of its biggest beneficiaries, having received $1.4 billion. The program currently funds anti-AIDS, TB and malaria programs in all of Ethiopia’s 140 hospitals.
Read the full story on VoA News here.
Originally posted on the ICASA2011 Website.
Four employees of the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise are bicycling to promote World AIDS Day, Ethiopia Going Green: the Green Economy Strategy, and the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) 2011, in pairs, one group riding from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar, and the other pair from Addis Ababa to Jimma,. The bicycle riders will promote the 16th annual ICASA in many different towns between Addis and the two destinations, allowing a significant number people in universities, health stations, and other public institutions to learn about ICASA.
12.4.11 | FHI360
ICASA provides a forum for the exchange of scientific knowledge, experiences and best practices on HIV/AIDS and STIs in Africa and around the globe. Most importantly, ICASA serves as a platform for sharing the progress towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support on the continent, which is one of the milestones of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 6).
Download the official ICASA 2011 brochure for everything you need to know about this year’s conference.
12.4.11 | Daily Ethiopia
Originally posted on the Daily Ethiopia
Final preparations have been made for the opening of the 16th International Conference on HIV/AIDS in Africa (ICASA) on Sunday. The conference, under the theme “Own, Scale-up and Sustain”, will bring together more than 7,000 delegates, including health professionals and scientists involved in anti-HIV/AIDS work. Among those expected to attend are former US President George W. Bush and several heads of state as well as ministers and political leaders. Some 22 million of the 33 million sufferers from AIDS are in Africa and a major aim of the conference is to raise public awareness throughout the continent. ICASA-2011 will be an opportunity to renew global commitment towards a more aggressive work in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and mobilize resource and technical assistance to reduce deaths from HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Tewodros Adhanom, says the week long event, jointly organized by the ICASA-2011 Office in Addis Ababa and the Ministry of Health, is an opportunity to share information about approaches to the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and the main objective will be to learn from others. Ethiopia, he says is keen to learn from others and also show to the world what it is doing. The number of AIDs’ deaths has been decreasing steadily since 2004 as antiretroviral drugs have become more available. In 33 countries, the incidence has fallen by more than 25% between 2001 and 2009 and 22 of these are sub-Saharan African countries including Ethiopia, but Africa still bears an inordinate share of the global impact of HIV/AIDS. The Conference, which comes a few days after World AIDS Day, December 1st, will be the largest ever held in Addis Ababa. The first ICASA was held in Brussels, Belgium, in 1986 with the theme, “AIDS in Africa,” and Senegal hosted the 15th ICASA under the theme, “Africa’s Response: Face the Facts,” in 2008.
12.1.11 | FHI 360
12.2.11 |International AIDS Society
Originally posted on International AIDS Society Website: IASociety.org
More than 10,000 participants from around the world, including government representatives, scientists, health workers, policy makers, and people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV), will gather in Addis Ababa on Sunday 4th December for the opening of the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA 2011).
International AIDS Society (IAS) spokespeople will use this occasion to highlight the growing momentum in HIV scientific research, while warning that recent funding cuts and the Global Fund’s decision to stop making new grants until 2014 could prevent these scientific discoveries from being converted into practical solutions where they are needed most, and potentially undo years of progress in the HIV response.
11.12.11 | FHI 360
11.12.11 | FHI 360
Final preparations are being made for the arrival of more than 10,000 delegates from Africa and around the world. The conference will bring together international figures, leaders, organizations, and civil society to exchange knowledge, skills, and best practices to scale up evidence-based responses to HIV/AIDS/STIs, TB and Malaria in Africa.
The conference numbers:
Visit www.icasa2011addis.org for a complete list of events and details.
11.12.11 | FHI 360
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