By Henry Neondo
The 17th International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in Africa (ICASA 2013), Africa’s largest AIDS Conference, will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), South Africa, from 7 – 11 December 2013, organisers of the conference announced Wednesday.
The conference will be co-chaired by Prof Robert Soudre, the President of the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) and Prof Ian Sanne, the CEO of Right Care and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand.
“In 2000, South Africa hosted the landmark International AIDS Conference setting the scene for what was to be a turning point in the international drive to breaking down the barriers to AIDS treatment. What followed was an unprecedented commitment by donors, government and civil society to increasing access to treatment, in an attempt to turn the tide on this epidemic. The 2013 ICASA Conference is an opportunity to renew this global commitment by drawing the world’s attention to the fact that the legacy of Durban 2000 is now under threat due to the global economic downturn” says Professor Ian Sanne, Co-Chair of the Conference.
The theme of ICASA 2013 is: Now More Than Ever: Targeting Zero. This theme was arrived at after an extended deliberation among the representatives of the respective stakeholders at the first International Steering Committee meeting. It is derived from the UNAIDS vision of striving for “Zero new HIV and TB infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related and TB deaths”
“We invite the international community, and all Africans, to join hands once again and show their solidarity for an AIDS free Africa. The 17th ICASA, is being held two years to 2015, the MDG target date. Cape Town will therefore offer a unique platform to Africa to take stock of the past achievements and challenges and to scale up the African response in the context of these MDGs. Our continent is at a cross roads, this is the time for efficiency and innovative and pragmatic approaches to tackle our issues. About 10 000 of the world’s leading scientists, policy makers, activists and government leaders and civil society are expected to join the debate,” says Prof Robert Soudre Co-Chairperson of the Conference.
The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the custodian of ICASA, and Dira Sengwe, the South African NGO that originated out of the Durban 2000 Local Organising Committee who are the custodians of the South African AIDS Conferences supported by the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD), are the lead organisers of the 17th ICASA, ICASA 2013 Cape Town