AIDS IMPACT Conference in South Africa Begins With Theme of Social Issues Related to HIV/AIDS
Social issues related to HIV/AIDS -- such as urbanization, underdevelopment and gender equality -- are not being "adequately addressed" in South Africa, Zola Skweyiya, the country's social services minister, said on Monday at the opening session of the seventh international AIDS IMPACT 2005 conference in Cape Town, South Africa, the Cape Times reports. This year's conference, titled "The Moment is Now," focuses on the behavioral and social aspects of HIV/AIDS, according to Ina van der Linde, deputy director of corporate communications for the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, which is hosting the event. About 700 people are registered for the four-day conference, which will feature 38 lectures covering mental health interventions in developing countries, parent-child communication and the risk of HIV transmission among children, according to the Cape Times. "We are looking at why people stop using antiretroviral therapy, why prevention sometimes doesn't work and why people take part in high-risk behavior," van der Linde said, adding, "Intervention and economics are also very important here with our economic problems." Former Mozambiquan Prime Minister Pascal Mocumbi, who also spoke at the opening ceremony, discussed the "dangers" of relationships -- including sex and marriage -- between girls and "sexually experienced" men, as well as "negative attitudes" toward condom use and sex education for girls, according to the Cape Times (Goligoski, Cape Times, 4/5). In a presentation prepared for the conference, Dr. Olive Shisana, HSRC executive director for the social aspects of HIV/AIDS and health, said that a population-based survey to monitor the pandemic is "an important new tool for monitoring HIV prevalence," the SAPA/SABC News reports. She added that there are concerns about the accuracy of South Africa's national HIV/AIDS statistics, which are generated from prenatal clinical systems, the reliability of HIV/AIDS case reporting and the accuracy of registration systems (SAPA/SABC News, 4/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.