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.
Dr Bereket Yakob Yota, a recent graduate of HEARD’s PhD Programme at UKZN has been appointed as a visiting scientist at the prestigious Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. Dr Yota who graduated with a PhD at the University of KwaZulu Natal in 2016, has been selected to contribute to the ...>>
HEARD recently hosted the second in a series of high-level retreats around domestic financing and prioritisation of health under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, better known as SDGs. The meeting took place at the Thanda Private Game Reserve in Hluhluwe, South Africa between 28 ...>>
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 ...>>
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 ...>>
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 ...>>
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 ...>>
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 ...>>
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 ...>>
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 ...>>
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 ...>>