Feature story

E-forum gets HIV prevention online

30 April 2007

20070430_girls_240.jpg
There is a need to intensify HIV prevention to halt growing
infection rates and sustain the gains that have already been
made in the AIDS response. Photo credit: UNAIDS/G.Pirozzi 

Although a small number of countries around the world have seen HIV prevalence decline due to sound HIV prevention efforts, in 2006, there were still 4.3 million new HIV infections with over 40% of new adult infections occurring among young people aged 15-24.

These figures underline a clear and urgent need to intensify HIV prevention to halt growing infection rates and sustain the gains that have already been made in the AIDS response if the commitment to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010 is to be met

As part of the ongoing efforts to identify effective HIV prevention interventions, UNAIDS in collaboration with the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) and the Health and Development Networks (HDN) is launching a new regional electronic discussion forum entitled “Accelerating Prevention”.

The electronic discussion forum (e-forum) aims to create a platform for people in eastern and southern Africa to share knowledge, experiences and skills in prevention, as well as to promote advocacy, partnerships and networking at both national and sub-regional level.

“For SAfAIDS, the ‘Accelerating Prevention’ e-forum will provide an opportunity and a platform for civil society to express their concerns, thoughts and experiences about HIV prevention. It is important for all to lend their voice to the debate and make a difference,” said Lois Chingandu, Executive Director, SAfAIDS

“Accelerating Prevention” is a time-limited e-forum that will run for a period of six months, starting on Monday 30 April until October 2007. During this period, six main topics related to prevention will be discussed, one each month, supported by position papers written by experts in HIV prevention issues which will serve as starting points for the electronic discussion. The six main topics for discussion will be:

1. Key drivers of the epidemic

2. Role of men in HIV prevention (including the issue of male circumcision)

3. Prevention for young people

4. Role of ‘classical’ sexually transmitted infections (STI) treatment in HIV prevention

5. Prevention from the perspective of people living with HIV

6. Strategic condom programming

Each topic will be broken down into key questions to guide the discussions. Research and resources will be collected in a database to support and supplement the discussion while key resource people will be identified for each topic.

By targeting stakeholders in eastern and southern Africa, the “Accelerating Prevention” e-forum discusses pertinent HIV prevention issues that will inform programme design and implementation across the region. Recognizing that there is no ‘one’ solution to bringing down rates of HIV infection, and that prevention programming needs will differ from country to country, and within a country itself, the forum emphasizes strategic information that can be used to guide programming to reach people most at risk and most in need.

“This e-forum provides a virtual space for the region to critically analyse the risk factors and drivers of the epidemic. It is hoped that the discussions will provide innovative and concrete suggestions of ways in which our HIV prevention interventions can be strengthened so that we can begin to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the future,” said Mark Stirling, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team, East and Southern Africa.




Links:

Get online! To participate in the discussion please click here

Visit SAfAIDS website
Visit UNAIDS East and Southern Africa Regional Website
Read more on East and Southern Africa
Download UNAIDS’ Practical guidelines for intensifying HIV prevention: Towards Universal Access (pdf, 3.8 Mb)

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