AIDS 2016 Daily Review
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Launch of the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016)

The Opening Ceremony officially kicked off the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) on Monday, Nelson Mandela Day. The conference returns to Durban 16 years after Mandela himself addressed the gathering with an historic speech that called upon all to "break the silence, banish stigma and discrimination, and ensure total inclusiveness within the struggle against AIDS." "This is the one event," Mandela said, "where every word uttered, every gesture made, has to be measured against the effect it can and will have on the lives of millions of concrete, real human beings all over this continent and planet."

Following a record-setting weekend of pre-conferences, AIDS 2016 began in earnest with events focusing global attention on the need to strengthen the global AIDS response. UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon, joined the conference opening briefing, met with civil society leaders and provided an update on the work of his panel on access to medicines. IAS President Chris Beyrer announced that a full third of the abstracts being presented at AIDS 2016 are by African researchers, and that this is the first AIDS conference ever in which the majority of papers will be presented by women.

The conference theme, Access Equity Rights Now, resounded across a series of opening day media briefings focused on protecting the most vulnerable populations and on scaling up prevention and treatment for women, girls, and all young people.
At the conference opening briefing, Michele Sidibé of UNAIDS, joined by South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, recalled another hero of the 2000 conference, 11-year-old activist Nkosi Johnson, whose impassioned plea for equitable access to ARTs helped open new avenues of treatment access for millions. But Mr. Sidibé also decried a worrying decline in donor financing for HIV that promises to make the global scale up of treatment and prevention, considered essential to ending the epidemic, even more challenging if not reversed quickly. And actor and UN Messenger of Peace Charlize Theron challenged the audience to ask why we do not care enough to about young people. "They are the forgotten ones," Theron said, acknowledging the tremendous progress made in preventing HIV transmission to infants, but asking why we continue to overlook the enormity of the HIV epidemic in young people, especially young girls.
The topic of prevention in women and girls dominated the afternoon. Researchers presented new data showing a high rate of HIV protection among women who used the dapivirine ring consistently. And in another of the day’s biggest stories, new data from South Africa’s Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) group, showing that certain types of vaginal bacterial may make some women more susceptible to HIV and less responsive to treatment, had conference goers talking about possible new avenues to reducing women’s risk of HIV.

Throughout the day, starting from the early morning, there were satellite sessions and sessions taking place in the Global Village. There were lively discussions on sessions, including scaling up treatment to reach more people living with HIV to treat all and to handle new demands on health systems given current capacity challenges, as well as bringing young leaders to the forefront with a platform to discuss challenges faced in HIV and sexual reproductive health and rights. Visit our daily rapporteur reports for more in-depth summaries of the sessions here.  

There was no shortage of luminaries, star power or moving moments at the evening’s Opening Ceremony, which featured actress and activist Charlize Theron, AIDS 2016 Co-Chairs Chris Beyrer and Olive Shisana, UNAIDS Director Michel Sidibé, a video message from Desmond Tutu, the presentation of the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award to Zimbabwean activist, feminist and LGBT champion Martha Tholanah, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu, Nkhensani Mavasa of South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign, and rousing performances by Strong Girls and from South African Afro-fusion band Freshlyground – all before a capacity crowd celebrating the opening of AIDS 2016.

For more details and scientific highlights, click here

Studies Offer Fresh Hope in Fight Against HIV/AIDS in South Africa

The Wall Street Journal
Policy makers and researchers have been struggling to stop thousands of teenage girls and young women in Africa from becoming infected with HIV every year. Now, three new studies help explain the persistent high rate of infection among them and what might be done to reduce it. The findings were striking, and could help chart a path to reduce the number of new infections in young women and girls…

A Durban, la conférence internationale sur le Sida va insister sur la prevention

Radio France Internationale
Quelque 18 000 participants venus du monde entier vont prendre part à cette 21e conférence mondiale sur le Sida à Durban. Des scientifiques, des militants de la société civile, des juristes, de nombreux représentants politiques bien sûr, mais également quelques personnalités, comme le prince Harry ou l'actrice sud-africaine Charlize Theron.

International AIDS Conference Returns To Durban, South Africa

NPR (audio available here)
It was a very different world 16 years ago in Durban. South Africa at the time was in the midst of AIDS denialism. Then-President Thabo Mbeki was publicly questioning whether HIV causes AIDS. His minister of health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was espousing a completely unproven cocktail of beetroot, garlic, lemon and African potatoes as a treatment for the disease. Now, South Africa is a global leader around HIV. The country has more people on lifesaving anti-AIDS drugs than any other in the world.

HIV/Aids resurgence in Africa feared as Durban hosts conference

The Guardian
Sixteen years after a groundbreaking conference shocked the world into the realisation that thousands of Africans were dying of Aids because they did not have access to life-saving drugs, campaigners and scientists meeting once again in Durban this week will warn that the progress made since 2000 is not enough to end the epidemic.

Aids 2016: All you need to know about key summit

Al Jazeera
More than 18,000 delegates from around the world have descended on South Africa to attend the 21st International Aids conference and discuss the global HIV response. Improving access to antiretroviral treatment, reaching priority groups and consolidating a strategy for ending Aids by 2030 are high on the major summit's agenda, in what experts describe as a rare opportunity for policymakers to build on some of the big gains of the past decade.

Exhibition Periscope Tour

11:45 - 13:00, SAST
Tune in to our Periscope channel or follow our AIDS 2016 Twitter feed starting at 11:45 SAST to get a first-hand look at the Exhibition area of the conference. If you have a booth in the Exhibition space, get ready for your close-up as we visit the booths on a live video stream.

What a Girl Wants: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Treatment Access and Gender Equality

13:00 - 14:00, SAST
The session will speak to better integrating sexual and reproductive health into HIV programmes and identifying the unique needs and leadership of women and girls living with HIV. This session is targeted to all conference delegates. Participants can expect a frank discussion of women’s sexuality, health and rights from a panel of experts and leading thinkers.

Prevention Now for Women and Girls: A Rights-Based Integration Advocacy Training

16:30 - 18:00, SAST
This workshop expands the network of organizations and skilled advocates committed to increasing government and donor commitment to rights-based, integrated prevention programmes that address the real needs of women and girls. Participants, including activists, advocates, community and NGO workers among others, hope to develop the skills needed to advocate and mobilize stakeholders for integrated SRHR and HIV policies and programming at the national and global level.


Global Village Opening Ceremony
Opening Press Conference
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) March
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) March
Opening Ceremony
AIDS 2016 Daily Highlights (16 & 17 July)
AIDS2016 Daily Highlights (16 & 17 July)

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