The MenEngage Africa Alliance will join nearly 20 000 AIDS activists, researchers and policy makers from around the African continent and many parts of the world for the 21st International AIDS Conference, which will be held in Durban next week.
The alliance recognises that much progress has been made since the early days of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, but we are also cognisant of the challenges that still lie ahead.
Millions of people in the developing world still do not have access to treatment, rates of HIV transmission are increasing in many parts of the world – especially in sub-Saharan Africa, gender inequalities and gender-based violence still put women at risk of HIV infection, many men and boys do not access HIV testing and treatment services – leading to high mortality rates for the infected.
Prevention efforts – particularly targeting the youth – need to be strengthened. This must include a comprehensive sexuality education programme (CSE) targeting young people who are in school and those who are not in school. Such efforts contribute enormously in the HIV response, as young people empowered with correct information generally take correct decisions about their lives. Related to this, must be efforts to keep girls in school as evidence shows that this contributes positively in ensuring that they are not exposed to HIV.
Governments across the world routinely disregard or violate the rights of women and key populations such as the LGBTQI community that are criminalised in many parts of Africa. We welcome the new resolution by the UN Human Rights Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). More work still needs to be done in this area.
The MenEngage Africa Alliance, together with our partner organisations, will present our work and participate in activism to insist that our governments, donors, corporate sector partners, and UN agencies deliver on their mandate and commitments to fund and implement effective prevention programmes, make sure that all who need treatment have it and respect and advance the rights of all.
We invite you to come join us in our many activities at the conference. Support the call for renewed commitment and action in the HIV and AIDS response!
Bafana Khumalo, chair of MenEngage Africa Steering Committee: +27 82 578 4479 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Itumeleng Komanyane, MenEngage Africa Secretariat member: +27 84 202 2788 – email@example.com
Dean Peacock, MenEngage Africa Secretariat member: +27 72 461 7751 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Remmy Shawa, Men and HIV Campaign Coordinator: +27 71 095 1997 – email@example.com