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The 16th International Conference on AIDS and sexually transmitted infections kicked off today December 04, 2011 at the dedicated Millennium hall, Addis Ababa
The ICASA 2011 opening has brought together Ethiopian PM, Melese Zenawi, Ex-President, Goerge W. Bush, UNAIDS Secretary General, Dr. Michel Sidibé, SAA president Prof. Robert Soudre, ICASA 2011 President, Dr. Yigeremu Abebe, Mayor of Addis Ababa City, H.E Ato Kuma Demekisa and many other high level officials with HIV and AIDS researchers, scientists, clinicians, community leaders, policy makers, people living with HIV and AIDS in its colorful opening. At the opening of Africa’s largest conference on HIV and AIDS, PM Meles Zenawi spoke about the successes registered in the responses against HIV and AIDS in Africa as a result of the unprecedented support from international partners.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on his part said “it is an important day because we want to demonstrate global solidarity can produce results. Today is a particular day to remember the 24 million Africans we lost to the epidemic. It is also a time to celebrate our successes. Many said our prevention programs would never work. But today, we have been able to prove them wrong”. He further said, although we have unprecedented successes in the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS, the unfolding events in the decline of global funding has posed a threat in combating the epidemic. “We are in a break or make it point,” Michelle Sidibe emphasized.
In his opening speech, former president of the United States of America. George W. Bush pointed out that the American people have unreservedly supported HIV and AIDS response projects in Africa. He mentioned PEPFAR, which he himself launched in 2003, as one of the programs the American people have been invaluably supporting. However, Mr. Bush recognized there is a lot more to be done in the face of current economic downturn.
Mr. Bush was also recognized with an award for his support in the HIV and AIDS response. On the occasion H.E Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopian Minister of Health, expressed his gratitude to Mr. Bush. This was followed by President Bush receiving his award from H.E Ato Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian Prime Minister.