Report and policy brief from the 4th Africa Conference on Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research: Innovations in access to prevention, treatment and care in HIV/AIDS, Kisumu, Kenya, 29 April–3 May 2007
I. van der Linde
social aspects of HIV/AIDS
Public aspects of medicine
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AbstractAbout 520 delegates from all over Africa and 21 countries attended the conference. This report and policy brief summarises the key findings and suggested policy options that emerged from rapporteur reports of conference proceedings including the following themes: (1) Orphans and vulnerable children, (2) Treatment, (3) Prevention, (4) Gender and male involvement, (5) Male circumcision, (6) People living with HIV/AIDS, (7) Food and nutrition, (8) Socioeconomics, and (9) Politics/policy. Two (11.8%) of the 17 OVC projects from the three countries were classified as best practice interventions. Of the 83 abstracts that were accepted at the conference, only 7 (8.4%) were dealing with antiretroviral therapy (ART). There has been tremendous effort by various organisations to provide information about prevention of HIV/AIDS. Information received by adolescents has been effective in increasing their knowledge, but without positive sexual behaviour change.The conference noted the contribution of gender discrimination and violence to the HIV epidemic and the different risks that men and women face in relation to the epidemic. Social scientists need to study the deep cultural meanings attached to male circumcision among different ethnic groups to be able to guide the debate on the latest biomedical findings on the protective effect of circumcision against HIV. Palliative care and support is crucial for coping among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in order to deal with medical and psychological issues. Results from several countries have helped researchers to explore alternative ways of examining poverty in the context of HIV and AIDS. Policy frameworks which are likely to succeed in combating HIV/AIDS need to be updated to cover issues of access, testing, disclosure and stigma. In general, the conference was successful in identifying innovations in access to prevention, treatment and care in HIV/AIDS.