Sunday 16 June 2019
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iol - 4 days ago

#SAAIDS2019 hears infection rates in key populations unacceptably high

The ninth South Africa Aids Conference is in its second day at the Durban ICC with more than 3000 delegates in attendance. This year s theme is titled Unprecedented Innovations and Technologies: HIV and Change . The four-day event was officially opened by newly appointed Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday afternoon. Mkhize laid a wreath at the Gugu Dlamini Park in central Durban, in commemorating the late activists and many others who stood and fought against discrimination and rallied for antiretrovial treatment. In his concluding remarks at the opening ceremony, Mkhize said, we need to understand the needs of the people who lack access to information and services so that we can provide them with information and services, including key populations, the LGBTI community, rural communities and people living with disabilities. The minister also gave a stern warning to healthcare practitioners who discriminate and ill treat patients based on HIV status, sexual orientation and any other form of discrimination. The gathering brings together policy makers, scientists, medical doctors and governments to establish and combine efforts to end the HIV epidemic. The conference is introducing digital technologies that are instrumental in curbing HIV/AIDS. Conference chairperson Professor Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya said the conference aims to give women, youth and transgender persons an opportunity to be at the forefront since they fall under the group with the highest infection rates. “The infection rates of HIV prevalence among key populations - men who have sex with men, female sex workers, transgender people and women - are unacceptably high.” said Phaswana-Mafuya on Tuesday. She added: we need to prioritise these groups in order to see changes in bio behavioural structural interventions that are been put into place. The conference continues until Friday. SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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