ACTIVATE! was hosted by the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) at the recent International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. ARASA is a regional partnership of non-governmental organisations working together to promote a human rights approach to HIV/AIDS and TB in Southern Africa through capacity building and advocacy.
The conference was a great platform to expose ACTIVATE! to more than 7 000 delegates who included world’s leading scientists, heads of states, civil society representatives, government leaders, youth, policy makers and activists.
Some highlights from the conference:
- Zambia’s first lady Christine Kaseba-Sata offered a keynote address that paidspecial attention be paid to women and young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the continent: two key population groups suffering from high rates of HIV infection.
- Other speakers acknowledged the silence that most often accompanies discussions of men who have sex with men and sexual minorities in Africa and highlighted the need for dialogue and understanding in order to influence legislation and traditional values around this issue.
- The Global Fund has outlined its priorities for funding in sub-Saharan Africa that make clear the importance of outreach to this key population, a position reiterated at ICASA by Mark Dybul, the Secretariat’s executive director, at a workshop organized by the Women4GF lobby group.
This year’s ICASA was an opportunity for the international community, and all Africans, to join efforts in committing to achieving an AIDS-free Africa.