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Mainline visited ICASA in Rwanda

The 20th International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in Africa (ICASA) took place in Rwanda, between the 2nd and 7th of December 2019. The theme: An AIDS Free Africa through Innovation, Community and Political Leadership.

ICASA was chaired, hosted and attended by leaders from different African countries as well as different representatives from governmental, non-governmental, and academic institutions. There were over also 8000 delegates from 152 countries, including Mainline's Muna and representatives for our partners from Kenya (MEWA) and South Africa (TB HIV Care).






HIV treatment was the main focus of the conference and valuable lessons, success stories and scientific break-throughs were shared enthusiastically. A great effort - though discussions centred around prevention perhaps should have been given more priority. Prevention is of great importance, especially in a context where strong religious and cultural norms limit the access of condoms and needle and syringe programmes.

Deservedly, attention was dedicated to vulnerable populations in a number of sessions. These communities bear the brunt of the burden when it comes to HIV. Therefore, sessions which focused on people who use drugs could, and perhaps should, have been given even more important consideration throughout the programme. In addition, overviews that were presented for harm reduction programmes in Africa seemed inconclusive. The fact that this gap in data and knowledge was addressed by several high officials was a positive outcome.

The conference was closed with the announcement that Uganda will host ICASA in 2021 and with a final message from Paul Kagame the president of Rwanda: ‘Good governance has everything to do with Health’.

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