Message from the Chairperson
Dr Olive Shisana
Theme: “Building Consensus on Prevention, Treatment and Care”
Welcome to the 3rd South African AIDS Conference in Durban. This conference follows on the 2nd Conferences held in 2003 here in Durban. This conference comes at a very important time: treatment programmes have been set up, challenging us to coordinated and collective action with a determined sense of urgency. To consolidate our efforts we need to seek consensus on issues of prevention, treatment and care, and therefore the theme of this year’s conference is Building Consensus on Prevention, Treatment and Care. Too many South African children, youth and adults succumb needlessly to the disease. The epidemic has an impact on families, communities and society, leaving behind it a trail of misery including poverty, stigma, orphanhood, overcrowded health facilities and countless deaths.
Extensive research is being conducted around the world with a view to generating evidence-based approaches to the reversal of the epidemic by the year 2015. The ongoing suffering and premature death from HIV/AIDS can be ameliorated through the sharing and use of knowledge generated through research. The climate could not be more conducive for tackling the epidemic. Increasing financial and other resources are being devoted to fighting the epidemic; prevention campaigns are being undertaken by the public, private, and non-government sectors; and more people are joining in the effort to care for those who are ill or dying.
Despite this favourable environment, many still miss out on the prevention campaigns, and many still fail to benefit from evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions. One of the reasons we have not capitalised on this favourable climate has been the lack of a common understanding of the meaning of existing knowledge, and how such knowledge can best be applied for the greatest benefit. Much energy has been dissipated on disagreements and arguments. This 3rd Conference is intended to provide a forum for pursuing such a common understanding.
We as a nation have triumphed against colossal adversity. We did so through massive organisation, commitment and unity against apartheid, and through pursuing broad consensus on how to end it. There is no reason why we cannot amass the same level of organisation, commitment, unity and broad consensus to tackle the HIV/AIDS challenge. Such consensus must be based on evidence derived from research on, inter alia, prevention technologies (post-exposure prophylaxis, microbicides, circumcision), positive HIV prevention, antiretroviral therapy (short and long-term impact), traditional and complementary medicines and the role of nutrition on HIV/AIDS.
We look forward to a productive discourse that will lead to broad consensus on what we do and how we use the knowledge we are gaining in ensuring prevention, treatment and care reaches all who need it.
A luta continua
Dr Olive Shisana
List of Committee members
|Name & Surname||Company||Designation|
|Track 1 – Basic and Clinical Sciences|
|Gary Maartens||University of Cape Town||Chairperson|
|Koleka P. Mlisana||Nelson Mandela School of Medicine||Co-Chairperson|
|Track 2 - Epidemiology, Prevention and Health Systems|
|Najma Shaikh||Western Cape Department of Health||Chairperson|
|Thomas M Rehle||Human Sciences Research Council||Co-Chairperson|
|Track 3: Social and Economic Sciences, Human Rights and Ethics|
|Fatima Hassan||Aids Law Project||Chairperson|
|Lindiwe Makhubalo||Absolute Return for Kids||Co-Chairperson|
|Track 4 – Best practices|
|Kerry Cullinan||Health E-news Services||Chairperson|
|Laetitia Rispel||Human Sciences Research Council||Co-Chairperson|
|Track 5: HIV and AIDS Community Exchange Encounters|
|Siphokazi Mthathi||Treatment Action Campaign||Chairperson|
|Elaine McKay||Discovery Health||Co-Chairperson|