Highlights from the STRIVE pre-conference meeting at AIDS 2018

10 August 2018
Sephy Valuks

Policy makers, implementers, civil society members, advocates and researchers assembled in Amsterdam on 21 July 2018, to participate in the STRIVE pre-conference session at AIDS2018.

The ambitious programme, which synthesised 7 years of evidence on the structural drivers of HIV, was structured around two key panel discussions:

  1. Addressing structural drivers in order to achieve the sustainable development goals
  2. Addressing structural drivers in the delivery of comprehensive HIV prevention programmes  

The participatory sessions focused on ways of integrating evidence into practice and identifying the best opportunities for the HIV community. Using live online polling throughout the session, STRIVE gathered recommendations and participants voted on the priorities. We will publish a report on the event, summarising discusssions, outcomes and recommendations.

A summary of live highlights from the day are available on wakelet. Here, we share key messages from the opening address and two videos that we recorded at the session.

Opening address: Catherine Sozi, Director UNAIDS Regional Support Team, Eastern & Southern Africa

Catherine Sozi used this address to draw attention to the disproportionate impact of HIV on adolescent girls and young women in Eastern and Southern Africa. 

“Thirty-three percent of the infected population is between the ages of 10-24, and four thousand young girls become infected every week, working out to 23 new infections per hour.” 

In addition, vulnerable populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and trans people are harder hit by the epidemic. Their access to services is not meeting demand and the root causes of vulnerability are not being sufficiently addressed at the societal level.

“If we continue with business as usual, we [UNAIDS] estimate a gap of 340,000 new infections by the time we get around to measuring it again.”

Her talk addressed the rising violence in young relationships, limited access to family planning services, transactional sex and contextual factors such as the increased internet access via mobile phones.  Drawing on the evidence, Sozi emphasised the need for comprehensive packages for adolescents and young women that factor in geographic patterns and HIV risk, and that are implemented at sufficient scale and intensity.

After her address, we recorded a short video interview which pulls together some key points from her address and provides further information about the UNAIDS/STRIVE transactional sex brief that was launched at the session.  

Kanengo Zoe Nakamba, an activist from SRHR Africa Trust, spoke on the morning panel about challenges young people face in accessing services. A key recommendation arising from the morning session was to ‘galvinise youth’. This video gives a quick overview of the key issues as she understands them.