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Key stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS, namely the Ghana AIDS Commission, the UN AIDS, the Society for AIDS in Africa, and the South African Embassy, have launched the 17th edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in Africa(ICASA) at a press conference in Accra, Ghana.
The event which was organized under theme, ‘’Now more than ever, getting to Zero’’ was very well attended by press men, from various radio , television and print media organizations across the country.
ICASA is a platform that brings health systems experts, bio-medicals, clinicians, social researchers, leaders in Africa, governments, civil societies, PLHIV and development partners closer together. It is therefore particularly the only bilingual conference that truly deals with African problems on AIDS STIs and TB and Malaria. The previous ICASA, which was held in 2011 Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) hosted up to 7,000 delegates from around the globe who responded favorably to the ICASA call. ICASA 2013 in Cape Town is expecting 10,000 delegates.
The Launch outlined strategies set to achieve the ICASA target which is shifting focus from prevention to total eradication of HIV/AIDS in Africa. The UN AIDS Country Director Mr Girmay Haile said the African continent must be focused since all gains can be lost and society endangered all over again if the strides made are not sustained and consolidated. He said we only have 1000 days left before we finally account for targets set, in the MDG 5, come end of year 2015.
The Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Angela El-Adas said ICASA 2013 is to create opportunities that will define the continent’s priorities beyond the 2015 Millennium Development target.
She said the commission has sent out notices to partners and stake holders to prepare towards the upcoming ICASA, and to submit papers and publications.
She announced that the National HIV and AIDS research conference scheduled for September 10-13 will also serve as a dress rehearsal for 17th edition of ICASA.
The Co-coordinator of the permanent Secretariat of the Society for AIDs in Africa, Mr. Luc Armand Bodea said the AIDS response in Africa over the past 5 years have seen sustainable and tangible gains. He informed the general public that registration is opened, and that more than 500 scholarships will be given.
He also announced that the call for abstracts and workshops are opened online, on ICASA 2013 website.
The South African High Commissioner, Her Excellency, Madam Jeanette Ndhlovu who hosted the press conference at the South African Embassy in Accra, said ICASA is an event which will help solve the AIDs epidemic in Africa. She urged all to show interest in order to yield maximum results from the 17th ICASA.