Heard

Working to Advance Health Equity in Africa

News

05.12.2016

World AIDS Day: Getting key populations on the Fast-Track

December 1 marked World AIDS Day. A brief moment reflection our recent achievements in the fight against HIV and AIDS point to some significant victories. Globally, we have more scientific knowledge on how the virus is transmitted with prevention and treatment options being tailored to suit particular population profiles. The strategic response to the epidemic in Africa (UNAIDS Fast Track, 90-90-90 ALL –IN ) has kept pace with recent scientific discoveries. There are however challenges ahead and we cannot slow down efforts in the fights to reduce new infections.

While HIV rates have stabilised in some countries in Africa, admittedly at high levels, we are concerned about high incidence rates in key populations. Communities of people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender people and men who have sex with men are among the hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic. HIV prevalence within these groups is 5–49 times higher than in the general population, and an estimated 45% of all new infections in 2014 were among key populations and their sexual partners. It is critical that we reach key populations with comprehensive HIV prevention services to achieve the global target to reduce new HIV infections to fewer than 500 000 by 2020. The concern is that few countries have mounted comprehensive responses for key populations. Stigma, discrimination and criminalisation are day-to-day barriers to services in too many countries. Further, insufficient domestic funding and a lack of social contracting for essential services are hampering prevention efforts.  While basic prevention activities are essential tools, there is a need to strengthen and monitor HIV/SRH legal, policy and strategy environments for especially for young key populations. Young people within key populations face particular HIV risks, often due to lower knowledge of risks or lower ability to mitigate those risks compared with their older, more experienced counterparts.

Related:  HEARD embarks on an extensive research project on young key populations in SADC countries

Return to list

Related news

09.02.2017

Research internships 2017 – applications open

Our internship programme is designed to integrate and complement your academic studies by providing you with the opportunity to participate in programme-related research. We inspire interest and draw out passion for research by providing a firm foundation for your career. We are looking for ...>>

01.12.2016

Media release: HEARD embarks on an extensive research project on young key populations in SADC countries

HEARD embarks on an extensive research project on young key populations in SADC countries, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and African Men for Sexual Health and Rights Durban, South Africa | 1 December 2016 HEARD has successfully obtained a large research grant to ...>>

23.11.2016

UN: HIV rate in young African women disturbingly high

ARV treatment on the rise, but UN urges urgent action as thousands of young women continue to be infected with HIV. The number of HIV-infected people taking anti-retroviral (ARV) medicine has doubled in just five years, the United Nations said while highlighting high infection rates among young ...>>

03.10.2016

2017 PhD Scholarships – Developing African Academics

HEARD’s Scholarship Programme aims to emphasise the mastery of quantitative and qualitative methods for understanding policy problems and for devising, evaluating and/or implementing policy solutions. The aim of providing PhD scholarships is to produce expertly qualified graduates to advise or ...>>

22.08.2016

Frank Tanser shares results from a population-based cohort in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on the application of geospatial analyses to reveal targets for intervention

Frank Tanser an infectious disease epidemiologist with specialist expertise in geographical information systems technology, shares results from a population-based cohort in rural KZN, on the application of geospatial analyses to reveal targets for intervention. About the speaker: Frank Tanser ...>>

17.05.2016

Why do HIV prevention programmes fail to reach at risk men?

The case of voluntary male medical circumcision roll out in South Africa A promising HIV prevention strategy aimed specifically at young men is voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), as men who have been medically circumcised are 60% less likely to contract HIV through male to female ...>>

01.03.2016

13 ART adherence challenges faced by MSM & LGBTI living with HIV in Kampala, Uganda

It is now possible for antiretroviral therapy (ART) to reduce viral load of HIV to the point where an infected person is no longer, or much less, infectious to others. As a result, ‘treatment as prevention’ has become the cornerstone of UNAIDS’s post-2015 global strategy to end AIDS by 2030. As ...>>

03.02.2016

New research: Health systems and HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa

HEARD’s research director Dr Govender was recently awarded a National Research Foundation and Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education research capacity building grant to forge systematic research on health systems and HIV in Eastern and Southern ...>>

01.12.2015

WORLD AIDS DAY 2015: Without ‘Fast Track’ an AIDS ‘perfect storm’ is still possible

Prof Nana Poku | HEARD’s Executive Director The UNAIDS Fast-Tracking to Zero Strategy is on its own a large and rightly ambitious undertaking, building on the success of the fifteen-year span of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). MDG 6 was closely related to, and broadly consonant ...>>

01.09.2015

Seminar series: understanding the demand for healthcare

This week, health economics researcher Mike Strauss, discusses the importance of understanding and creating demand for healthcare services, especially in the context of scaling up HIV prevention and treatment interventions in South Africa. The talk will draw on evidence from a discrete choice ...>>