Members of the ALPHA Network have returned from AIDS 2016, which saw more than 15,00 global leaders, scientists, advocates, and frontline health workers gather in Durban for the 21st International AIDS Conference.
More than 17 million people living with HIV are on treatment, and both new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are falling. The conference focused on the work that needs to be done to achieve the global goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
The conference included addresses from high-profile speakers including; Chris Beyrer, AIDS 2016 International Chair and President of the International AIDS Society, Olive Shisana, AIDS 2016 Local Chair and President and CEO of Evidence Based Solutions, Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, Nkhensani Mavasa, Chairperson of South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign, Charlize Theron, Founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project and United Nations Messenger of Peace, Bill Gates, HRH Prince Harry and Sir Elton John.
The event featured 2,500 scientific abstracts and presentations including project results from the network throughout the week. During their well-attended symposium, the network presented new mortality results described as “the good, the bad and the ugly”. The good– confirmation of how ART has succeeded in bringing down AIDS mortality and the resulting gains in life expectancy that have already been observed in their communities; the bad– identifying the parts of the HIV treatment cascade where excess deaths are still occurring; the ugly– the puzzling new differences between the epidemic impacts on men and women that are now emerging.
They also discussed how the methods developed by the partner studies of the ALPHA network could be applied in communities that are less intensively studied. As well as the demographic and HIV surveillance data, which are the basis of our mortality analyses, they presented the results of national policy analyses and facility surveys looking at how the policies were implemented in the health centres serving its communities. The results of its qualitative “bottlenecks” studies also provided fresh insights on the experiences of community members navigating the HIV treatment cascade.
Slides, posters and webcasts can be downloaded below and the network would like to thank everyone who came to their symposium and presentation sessions.
Symposium: HIV Mortality Trends in Africa in the Treatment Era: New Evidence from the ALPHA Network of Community-based HIV Surveillance Studies
Co-chair’s introduction: the ALPHA network: What makes ALPHA data on HIV mortality unique?
The good news – expansion of policies and services and the rapidly shrinking burden of HIV mortality
The bad news – residual mortality on the HIV care continuum and insights on the experiences of people who died of HIV
The ugly news – widening gender disparities in ART access and benefits: warnings for test and treat programs?
Breaking news – opportunities and challenges going beyond the study populations, linking research and routine service data
A critical evaluation of the evidence presented from the UNAIDS perspective
Tuesday 19 July
Oral Abstract Session Track D– Shame-Less: Stigma Interventions That Work Presentation: Changing forms of HIV stigma along the HIV care and treatment cascade: findings from a multisite qualitative study in eastern and southern Africa (TUAD0405). Joyce Wamoyi, Kisesa, Tanzania
Wednesday 20 July
Oral Poster discussion – Translating Tradition in the AIDS Response Presentation: Promise or Peril? The nature of medical pluralism along the cascade of care for HIV/AIDS in eastern and southern Africa (WEPDD0101). Mosa Moshabela, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Oral Poster discussion– Filling the Gaps in PMTCT/B+ Programmes Presentation: Counselled to compliance: experiences of Option B+ for the prevention of mother to child transmission in four health and demographic surveillance sites in sub-Saharan Africa (WEPDE0102). Estelle McLean, LSHTM
Oral Abstract – It’s All in the Family Presentation: Partner communication and support around HIV and how this relates to health-seeking behaviour: a qualitative study amongst HIV-positive individuals and couples in Karonga, Malawi (WEAD0104). Jenny Renju, LSHTM and webcast.
Thursday 21 July