The ICASA 2015 (international conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa) was held from November, 29th to December, 4th 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The 18th ICASA was an opportunity to renew global commitment by drawing the world’s attention to the fact that the legacy is now under threat as a result of the global economic downturn. This year’s ICASA is an opportunity for the international community, and all Africans, to join efforts in committing to achieving an AIDS-free Africa. Over 7 000 of the world’s leading scientists, policy makers, activists, PLHIV, government leaders convened to find a way forward towards this vision. The conference was organized to embrace all disciplines and groups affected by HIV/AIDS including men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, lesbians, gays and trans-diverse persons, people who use drugs, sex workers and people living with HIV.
The African Men for Sexual and Health Rights (AMSHeR), African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) and Gender Dynamix organized a one and half day pre-conference prior to ICASA) to exchange ideas, critically reflect and identify priority health and human rights-related issues for gay men and other men who have sex with men, lesbians, gays, trans-divers persons, sex workers, people who use drugs and people living with HIV in Africa.
The overall objective of the ICASA Key Populations Pre-Conference was to raise awareness on Key Populations, Human Rights and HIV as an “unfinished business” of MDG 6; bridge the knowledge gap about the health and human rights needs of Key Populations in Africa; and to strengthen the engagement and capacities of stakeholders to efficiently address them in the context of the HIV response and in the process for developing the post-2015 development framework.
The expected outcomes were:
- Increased awareness of health and human rights-related issues affecting Key Populations living with HIV in Africa and commitment to further advance key populations, human rights and HIV in programming and various advocacy opportunities
- Identification of priority needs of Key Populations to address the health and human rights needs such as safety and security of Key Populations in Africa.
- Enhanced and accountable Key Populations leadership and advocacy.
The conference was an excellent opportunity to promote inter-sectoral achievements in the AIDS response and to strengthen the partnership among governments, civil society, and development partners.