Zimbabwe to host International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa

November 16, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Mathew Masinge

All is set for the 18th session of one of the world’s largest conferences on AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in Africa (ICASA) to be hosted at Zimbabwe’s capital Harare from November 29th to December 4th.

The conference expects to host between 5000 to 7000 delegates in the field of HIV and AIDS. Scientists, doctors researchers, human rights activists in the field of HIV, health ministers and people living with HIV will converge in Harare and brainstorm on the way forward for Africa and the world on STIs and getting to zero with regard to new HIV infections.

The ICASA Board of Governors were in Zimbabwe last month to assess the country’s suitability to host the conference. The board was pleased and gave Zimbabwe the nod to host the conference.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) congratulated Zimbabwe on winning the bid to host the largest conference dealing with these issues in Africa.

“Congratulations Zimbabwe for getting such an opportunity. It is time to show the world what Zimbabwe has achieved and where it is headed in the next decade as concerning HIV and AIDS. This is the time to rise and shine by lifting the country’s flag high. We wish the country success in hosting ICASA,” UNAIDS congratulated Zimbabwe.

 

Tunisia was initially supposed to host the conference and pulled out at the last minute. ICASA president, Dr Ihab Ahmed, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa in Harare.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr Parirenyatwa, said with the signing now over what was left is for Zimbabwe to conclude the modalities and host a memorable continental meeting.

People living with HIV in Zimbabwe expressed their gratitude that the conference will be hosted in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe uses or rather takes the largest chunk of condoms distributed globally. In 2013 the country took up 25 million condoms whether they were used correctly is however another story.

Sexually transmitted diseases are reported to be up in some hot spots, as are new HIV infections.

In Harare, Highfield, Mbare and Harare’s famous Avenues area were reported to have seen an increase in new and repeat sexually transmitted diseases. This is scary especially when the country is top in the uptake of condoms. This upcoming conference is mainly going to address sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and Aids and Zimbabwe should turn a new leaf with ICASA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mathew Masinge

Mathew is journalist, blogger and an actor based in Harare. He writes for the Herald, Zimbabwe’s largest daily newspaper.

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