HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting Closes in Uganda; Participants Call for Increased Prevention Efforts
The 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting in Kampala, Uganda, closed on Saturday with participants calling for an increase in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus worldwide, Xinuahnet reports. "Our chief weapon against HIV/AIDS has always been and must continue to be prevention," Ugandan first lady Janet Museveni said at the close of the conference, adding, "People need not only to learn but also be reminded constantly that their own line of defense against this killer disease, which has no cure, is to avoid contracting it in the first place." Joy Phumaphi, World Bank vice president of human development, said that prevention should be emphasized because HIV/AIDS treatment is expensive and has significant economic impacts. "It is more urgent for us to arrest the spread of [the] epidemic than it has ever been," she said (Xinhuanet, 6/7). George Tembo of UNAIDS also said treatment "costs much more (than prevention), and there is a huge need for" partners to invest "in this area." Tembo also called on governments to ensure that HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are considered human rights issues (New Vision, 6/8).
Conference participants also said that countries should establish their own national prevention strategies because the factors that contribute to the spread of HIV are different in each country (Xinhuanet, 6/7). "Each country has a unique case; you can't say you are using one method for all countries," Phumaphi said. She added, "Let us carry the new ideas back to our countries and make careful and evidence-based decisions, especially in prevention." Phumaphi also said that HIV/AIDS has underscored the need to invest more resources to the development of health infrastructures. "There are not enough resources going to health care," Phumaphi said, adding that African countries should meet pledges made at a 2001 conference in Abuja, Nigeria, to devote 15% of their national budgets to health care (New Vision, 6/8).
Archived webcasts from the meeting will be available online at kaisernetwork.org.