Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

17 December 2011

Mapping Pathways at ICASA: Generating interest, creating buzz

 Original content from our Mapping Pathways blog team

Two Mapping Pathways team members – Molly Morgan Jones from RAND Europe and Jim Pickett from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago – recently presented two project posters at the 16th International Conference on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) held in Addis Ababa from December 4-8. This was the first time preliminary project findings from the literature review, online survey, stakeholder interviews, and ExpertLens were officially shared with the wider HIV prevention community on such a large scale. The semi-annual ICASA is Africa’s largest gathering on HIV/AIDS. This year it brought together approximately 7,000 delegates from more than 103 countries. Check out the two Mapping Pathways poster presentations here. The daily poster exhibition showcased posters on research findings, best practices, and innovative strategies in the response to HIV/AIDS in Africa.

“Molly and I had a lot of fun,” says Jim Pickett. “In general, the focus of the conference wasn’t so much about new prevention technologies, so it was important for us to get out there and get the word out. We stood in front of the posters and had some really great discussions – people were  not only interested in the science behind some of these ARV-based prevention strategies, but also understanding the various viewpoints from stakeholders ‘on the ground.’ I think Mapping Pathways generated a real buzz.”

At this year’s ICASA, concerns about funding took center stage. According to a conference write-up, “Underlying the encouraging atmosphere, participants, presenters and conference organizers shared concerns about recent announcements regarding cuts in much needed life-saving funding for HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The financial blow of the Global Fund, which suspended normal disbursements until 2014, comes at the worst moment – when the use of antiretroviral drugs for treatment and prevention has dramatically reduced mortality from the virus and reduce transmission of AIDS.” Read the rest of this synopsis on the conference here: ICASA 2011 Closes with a Call for a Sustainable HIV Response

Apart from discussions on funding, other conference presentations included promoting gender equality (a high-level task force “Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV for Eastern and Southern Africa” was launched); strengthening health systems and showcasing the additional benefits the AIDS response has had for the broader health and development; and committing to the elimination of new HIV infections in young children. Pickett co-chaired a session on HIV and LGBT issues in the African context as well, which was standing room only.

On the last day of the conference, delegates gathered together to discuss how to deliver on the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS for Africa, which was unanimously adopted this June. The declaration calls for universal access by 2015. Read more here.

Check out the Mapping Pathways posters here. And let us know what you think. You may leave a comment here, or send us an email at:

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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