HEAIDS session to increase focus on prevention of HIV and elimination of GBV

The United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with the UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office (SAMCO) will hold a satellite session at the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) 2017 conference titled “Gender- Based Violence as a structural driver of HIV infection in Institutions of Higher Learning” on 9 June 2017.

Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017

While across Africa, HIV infection rates have begun to slow and decline, the Eastern and Southern Africa regions remains the epicenter of the HIV epidemic, with some 48% of the worlds’ new infections, half of all youth with HIV globally. Adolescents and young people are disproportionately affected and young women between 15 and 24 years account for 31 per cent of all new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa. The highest incidence of HIV is in the 19-24 years old age group. This age group is sexually active with a tendency to have multiple partners and experience first time pregnancies. One other recognised driver of HIV is multiple forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The satellite session comes at a time when South Africa is faced with multiple cases of gruesome violence against women, highlighting the need to work together to prevent and respond to this phenomenon. Key speakers from the Medical Research Council, Sonke Gender Justice, the National Prosecuting Authority, Tshwaranang, UN Women and UNFPA will align theoretical understanding of the linkages between HIV and GBV to real and evidence-based knowledge of these two intertwined concepts. The session will create a forum for young people to engage, contribute and influence the national response towards prevention of HIV and GBV with the intention of catalysing local, regional and global action to end AIDS and promote sexual and reproductive health.

It will not only position young people as key partners in preventing HIV and GBV, but the satellite session will also highlight the concrete actions taken to enhance prevention of HIV and GBV in Institutions of Higher Learning. The meeting will be attended by about 150 people representing the private sector, development partners, government and the civil society.

Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the event, scheduled as follows:

Date:   Friday, 9 June 2017

Time: 15:30 – 17:00

Venue: Durban International Convention Centre Hall 5

More information:
  • Ms Otae Mkandawire, otae.mkandawire(@)unwomen.org
  • Ms Ziyanda Ngoma, ngoma(@)unfpa.org