“Fifteen years ago there was a conspiracy of silence. AIDS was a disease of the “others” and treatment was for the rich and not for the poor. We proved them wrong, and today we have 15 million people on treatment—15 million success stories.” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.
This statement resonates with me as it reflects the hard work and commitment of all stakeholders reaching this crucial point. Recent reports indicate that between 2000 and 2014, new HIV infections dropped from 3.1 million to 2 million, a reduction of 35%. As In 2014, 83 countries, which account for 83% of all people living with HIV, have halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics, such as India, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Can we celebrate this success? Yes we can, unless we increase investments in the AIDS response in order to pave the way for an AIDS free generation. ICASA as the platform creates the means by which we can achieve this goal.
The 18th ICASA in Zimbabwe will bring together professionals and activists from across the world and provide the opportunity to take stock of the gains made, showcase groundbreaking research, and develop strategies to achieving the targets set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Zimbabwe has gracefully accepted to host ICASA 2015 in the beautiful city of Harare from the 29th of November to the 4th of December 2015, under the theme: “AIDS in Post 2015: Linking Leadership, Science & Human Rights”. This theme reflects the three basic components central to an efficient AIDS response in Africa and worldwide for the upcoming 15 years.
I wish to welcome all delegates to the 18th edition of ICASA, which will be organized by the Society for AIDS in Africa in partnership with the government of Zimbabwe through its Ministry of Health and Child care.
Dr Ihab Ahmed
ICASA 2015 President