Background to the Theme

The theme for the conference, ‘ENDING AIDS -Rethinking Practices for Maximum Impact’ captures the overall purpose of the conference which seeks to provide a platform for the exchange of local and global research and best practices towards achieving epidemic control in Ghana.

Rethinking Practises for maximum impact will require a collective and a country-led efforts to scale-up HIV prevention and treatment services as part of fast-tracking a comprehensive response to meet global and national targets and commitments to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

With science showing that starting treatment as early as possible has the dual benefit of keeping people living with HIV healthy and preventing HIV transmission, many countries including Ghana have now adopted the gold-standard policy of ‘Treat All’ or ‘Test and Treat’ which will result in reducing the incidence of AIDS-related deaths and in new HIV infections. This is good news and the results must be sustained. We must increase the effort and provide the necessary national recourses, both technical and financial to ensure rapid scale-up of treatment and existing HIV prevention interventions. We must re-think and be ready to change service delivery models that are not working and scaled-up best practises to achieve the maximum impact we so much desire.

Moving forward, we must eschew complacency, the most singular evil that can easily reverse the gains we have made so far. Without more domestic investments and international technical assistance, we cannot push faster on the 90-90-90 fast-track targets to achieve epidemic control by 2020.

We must think innovative ways of generating and mobilising adequate resources to fill the financial gaps so required while addressing stigma and discrimination against PLHIV in health facilities, changing negative attitudes of healthcare workers and aggressively implementing differentiated models of care. The choice of differentiated models of care must combine clinical and non-clinic-based models in order to rapidly attain universal coverage for anti-retroviral treatment by 2020. This is the only sure way to achieve maximum impact and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The following quote, summaries the theme for the conference: “We must not fail children, women and girls, young people and key populations. We must engage with men differently. Men are being left behind in the push to 90–90–90, in turn affecting the lives of women and children”. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director, UNAIDS