Speakers at Second HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting in Uganda Call for Increased HIV Prevention Efforts
Conference delegates on Tuesday at the opening of the 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting in Kampala, Uganda, called on countries to increase HIV prevention methods in order to fight complacency about the disease, Xinhuanet reports. Some HIV/AIDS experts speaking at the conference said that although countries have started recording lower HIV/AIDS rates, most responses do not pay enough attention to prevention.
UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said that although "87% of countries in the world have established clear and ambitious goals for HIV treatment, only about 50% have targets for HIV prevention therapy." He added, "There is no room for complacency. AIDS is not done; the epidemic is not under control. For every two persons who are put on treatment, five are infected" with HIV.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who opened the conference, attributed the complacency about the disease to the provision of antiretroviral treatment, which some people view as a cure for the disease. He said that HIV/AIDS messages should be repackaged, adding that he does not want to give people living with the disease "false security" that antiretroviral drugs are a cure. Mark Dybul, U.S. Global AIDS coordinator who administers the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, added that countries should take HIV prevention as seriously as HIV/AIDS treatment (Xinhuanet, 6/4).
This year's conference -- which has the theme "Scaling Up Through Partnerships: Overcoming Obstacles to Implementation" -- aims to share lessons learned in the fight against HIV/AIDS with a focus on increasing prevention, treatment and care. The conference also aims to build local capacity and bolster coordination between partners. Participants will focus on several issues, including human capacity development, connecting people with resources, coordination, integrating services, and the impact of monitoring and evaluation. In addition, the conference will focus on developing future directions for HIV/AIDS programs by focusing on implementation, identifying barriers and integrating best practices (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/3).
Archived webcasts from the meeting will be available online at kaisernetwork.org.