4th SA AIDS Conference

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Message from the Chairperson

2009 Conference Chair:
Associate Professor Linda-Gail Bekker
Theme: “Scaling up for success”

We are delighted to welcome delegates from all over the world to the 4th SA AIDS Conference in Durban South Africa, 31 March – 3 April 2009. There is an important new aspect to this 4th conference that will build on the successful conferences of the preceding years. Recognition that one of the hardest hit regions in the world is that of Southern Africa and the southern tip of Africa continues to see rising numbers of new infections, the conference organisers and committee of 2009 have agreed that the conference reach should be extending to our neighboring countries and we extend a particularly hearty welcome to Southern Africa.
Sobering reports continue to identify Africa has the global epicenter of the AIDS pandemic and describe the epidemic as highly diverse and especially severe in southern Africa where some of the epidemics continue to expand. Even where epidemics are leveling off in this region they are doing so at exceptionally high levels. An estimated 22.5 million adults and children in sub-Saharan Africa were living with HIV in 2007. By April of that year, 1.3 million people in the region were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Globally, however, antiretroviral drugs reach only 1 in 5 who need them and currently only 9% of pregnant women living with HIV in the developing world are provided with drugs to prevent the virus being transmitted to their babies.

Our theme this year: ‘Scaling up for success’ recognises that there is an urgency to take stock of best practices in treatment and prevention and to scale these up sufficiently to begin to roll back the onslaught in numbers and impact that the epidemic is currently waging in Southern Africa. We know what needs to be done. We have a National Strategic Plan that is all at once comprehensive, challenging and ambitious. We need to examine the evidence of how these goals can be achieved critically, assess feasibility and then remove all obstacles and barriers to implement as widely and as efficiently as possible. We need to identify the gaps in the evidence and systematically set out to meet those knowledge gaps. More than ever before we need to come together as a region, declare war on the epidemic and begin to see the rates in Southern Africa decline.

List of Committee members

Name & Surname Company Designation
Linda-Gail Bekker Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Conference Chair
Gustaaf Wolvaardt Dira Sengwe Board of Directors Representative
Francois Venter RHRU Skillsbuilding : Chair
Natalie Martyn SA Clinician Society Skillsbuilding :
Co-chair
Thumbi N’dungu University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Track 1: Chair
Jo-Ann Passmore University of Cape Town Track 1: Co-chair
Rosemary Musonda Botswana – Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership Track 1: Co-chair
Doug Wilson KZN Dept of Health Track 2: Chair
Vivian Black Reproductive Health & HIV Research Unit Track 2: Co-chair
Moses Sinkala Catholic Medical Mission Board, Zambia Branch Track 2: Co-chair
Virginia Zweigenthal WC Dept of Health Track 3: Chair
Guy de Bruyn PHRU Track 3: Co-chair
Alex Coutinho TASO, Uganda
(Infectious Diseases Institute, Mulago Hospital Complex, Kampala, Uganda)
Track 3: Co-chair

Catherine Slack

University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Track 4: Chair
Vasu Reddy HSRC Track 4: Co-chair
Michaela Clayton Aids & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa) Namibia Track 4: Co-chair
Astrid Dearham WC Dept of Health Track 5: Chair
Nigel Rollins University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Track 5: Co-chair
Jeremiah Chakaya Ministry of Health Track 5: Co-chair
Peter M.Mathebula Medunsa Track 6: Chair
Victor Lakay TAC Track 6: Co-chair
Pauline Musukwa MPH, Zambia Track 6: Co-chair

Conference poster

4th_saaids_conference