Join and follow us in Cape Town!

Please join MSH and our partners at the 17th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) December 7 – 11 in Cape Town, South Africa, for a special talk-show style event on targeting zero in the post-2015 world on December 9, abstract and poster presentations by MSH staff, an interactive conference booth, and much more.

ICASA Event InviteTargeting Zero Together: What Will It Take?
Join us for a special talk-show style panel and reception at Southern Sun The Cullinan Hotel, located across the street from the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in South Africa on Monday, December 9, 2013, from 6 to 9 pm. RSVP requested: Facebook or email.

Monday, December 9, 2013

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Southern Sun The Cullinan Hotel
Protea 1 & 2

Speakers include:

  • Lois Chingandu, Executive Director, SAfAIDS
  • Scott Kellerman, Global Technical Lead HIV/AIDS, Management Sciences for Health
  • Tracey Naledi, Director of Health Impact Assessment, Western Cape Department of Health
  • Steven T. Smith, Health Attaché and Regional Representative for Southern Africa, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • …and more special guests!

RSVP requested: on Facebook or by email.

Refreshments provided.

MSH Presentations

Poster Sessions

Saturday, December 7

  • Session 1, Track E:
    New Evidence, New Thinking: HIV Prevention Communication Training Bridges the Gap from Research to Practice. Paul Waibale, Building Local Capacity for Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa (BLC) Project.

Sunday, December 8

  • Session 1, Track B:
    Understanding the Factors Influencing the Duration of First-Line Regimens in an Ageing Antiretroviral Treatment Programme. Stephanie Berrada, Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program.
  • Session 1, Track D:
    Comparison of Sexual Risk Behaviour Between HIV Positive Men and HIV Negative Men in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Hloni Mabuza, BLC Project.
  • Session 1, Track E:
    Improving HIV Management in Botswana Hospitals Through the Quality Improvement and Leadership Program: The Case of Mahapye and the Scottish Livingstone Hospitals. Katie Reichert, BLC Project.
  • Session 2, Track D:
    The Role of Small Grants in Enhancing and Aligning HIV Prevention Activities in Resource Constrained Rural Communities of the Zululand District, Kwazulu-Natal. Bright Phiri, SIAPS Program.

Tuesday, December 10

  • Session 2, Track B: A Systematic Review of Demand-Side factors Affecting ART Initiation and Adherence for Pregnant an Postpartum Women Living with HIV. Sarah Konopka, African Strategies for Health (ASH) Project.
  • Session 2, Track B: Erik Schouten, MSH Malawi, A Systematic Review of Interventions to Reduce Mortality Among HIV-Infected Pregnant and One-Year Postpartum Women (Presented by Scott Kellerman and Jackie Sallet)
  • Session 2, Track D: Christopher Colvin, ASH Project, A Systematic Review of Health System Barriers to and Enablers of ART for Pregnant and Postpartum Women with HIV

Abstract Sessions

Monday, December 9, 17:00

  • Assessing the Progress of HIV and AIDS Indicators: Can Regional Level Results from Household Surveys Be Used for Program Monitoring? Luigi Ciccio, Uganda Strengthening TB and AIDS Response – Eastern Region (STAR-E) Project.

Tuesday, December 10, 16:45-18:15

  • Scale-Up of Cervical Cancer Screening and Integration with STI Services: The Experience from Eastern Uganda. Jennifer Acio, Uganda STAR-E Project.

Visit us at Booth 21

Meet MSH staff at our booth (21) in Hall 1 and pick up free materials during exhibit hall hours. MSH staff will highlight different areas of our HIV & AIDS work each day.

Hours and Themes:

  • Saturday, December 7: 10am-1:30pm; MSH in Africa and Inside Story
  • Sunday, December 8: 10am-7pm; Health systems, HIV, and other health issues
  • Monday, December 9: 10am-5:30pm; Pediatric AIDS
  • Tuesday, December 10: 10am-7pm; Building Local Capacity Project
  • Wednesday, December 11: 10am-4pm; Pharmaceutical Systems and Services

Join the #ICASA2013 conversation

MSH will be covering the conference through blogs and social media. On Twitter use hashtag #ICASA2013. Join the global #ICASA2013 conversation!

Special Supplement on Pediatric HIV & AIDS for the journal AIDS

Scott Kellerman, MSH’s Global Technical Lead for HIV and AIDS, co-edited a 12-paper special supplement on pediatric HIV & AIDS for the journal AIDS, with co-editors Dr. Nandita Sugandhi from CHAI and Dr. Rami Yogev from Northwestern University Department of Pediatrics. The series was initiated last year because of concerns that key issues in pediatric HIV and AIDS were being overlooked. MSH co-authors included Theresa Feely-Summerl, Helena Walkowiak, Jon Jay, David Mabirizi and Erik Schouten. READ SUPPLEMENT FOR FREE

World AIDS Day: Getting to an AIDS-Free Generation

This piece is cross-posted from the MSH Global Health Impact Blog{Photo credit: Warren Zellman}Photo credit: Warren Zellman

I remember attending the Durban international AIDS conference in 2000, my first. That was the one where everything was going to turn around and we were going get a handle on the epidemic. Nelson Mandela spoke at that one, in a hall that was the size of three football fields. And the crowd was joyous, raucous, the noise was deafening and it was one of the most memorable days of my life.

Before Mandela took the stage, a choir made up of kids—none more than 9 or 10 years of age and many much younger—took the stage to sing tribute to the great man and those of us gathering there.

It was charming and sweet. Everyone had a huge grin on their faces. And then I realized that this group of kids was special, maybe overheard someone nearby or perhaps the MC say that this, “was THAT group.” All were infected with the virus, and as I watched these gorgeous children singing so strong, moving and smiling and clapping with everyone, I knew, knew inside, that they probably wouldn’t live much longer.

We are indeed a far cry from where we were then. And yet with all of our incredible advances, we see essential challenges in starker relief. What we’re discovering is just how hampered we remain in delivering care to those who need it most. It’s not that we don’t know how to deliver life-saving care to adults and children. The problem is that the health systems in many places still struggle to offer basic services. Our focus moving forward must be on strengthening health systems to decentralize to the most local unit, integrate with other key clinical services and ensure that programs are sustained.

A FUTURE FOR HIV POSITIVE CHILDREN

When I was in medical school, the reason why I chose pediatrics was because kids get better for the most part. There are tragic exceptions, of course, but most kids bounce back from illness and recover. They get to be kids. They grow up to be adults.

That’s not the case with pediatric HIV, or at least it hasn’t always been so. At each point in the cascade of care for infected children, there are barriers that until very recently were not really being talked about, and still are not being fully addressed.

Through my work at MSH, I became involved in the Interagency Task Team for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, co-sponsored by UNICEF and WHO, and focused on advocating for improved HIV responses for children.  About a year ago, I was asked to co-chair the Child Survival Working Group within the IATT—a group made up of nearly 60 professionals representing nearly 30 organizations all dedicated to thinking about pediatric HIV issues. When I took over as co-chair, I asked the members for ideas on creating something lasting, something that can highlight what we should be thinking about improving HIV care for children.

STRENGTHENING THE HEALTH SYSTEM AT ALL LEVELS FOR ALL AGES

We all agreed: the existing primary response to pediatric HIV has been to further strengthen Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programming.  But in truth, a lot of kids are missed by PMTCT. Even with an absolutely perfect PMTCT system that captures every infected mother presenting for ante-natal care, there will still be a sizable proportion of women who never make it in to antenatal care, are never seen by a nurse or midwife, or a doctor during their pregnancy. They never get a chance to be tested for HIV during pregnancy and understand their HIV status—and their children will never have a chance to be protected from acquisition of the virus from their mothers. Thus hundreds of thousands of children continue to be born with HIV because PMTCT is predicated on women actually showing up at an antenatal care clinic and getting tested.

Our thought was to write a series of papers addressing all aspects of the care cascade for children born infected or affected by HIV. We wanted to highlight areas that have not received the type of attention needed—including case finding of infected children, linking these children to care and treatment, retaining them in care, ensuring adherence to medicine and addressing the myriad issues these children face.

Through our collection of essays, we show among other things, that the infrastructure and the health systems that are responsible for caring for kids are really suffering as well. It comes right down to health systems strengthening, not only for adults but also for pediatric care systems which are separate from those for adults and are often much less resourced.

We undertook this project to try to identify the areas that must be addressed in order to strengthen the care response across the life cycle of infected kids. This series became a reality through the generous support of UNICEF and the multiple organizations who participated in writing and reviewing this series of 11 papers, and through the financial support of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

GETTING TO AN AIDS-FREE GENERATION: ADVOCACY IN DC AND ABROAD

Advancing a health systems strengthening approach to HIV & AIDS for both adults and children requires more advocacy and education of decision makers: many current legislators were not in office for the passage and earlier reauthorization of PEPFAR; we therefore continue to educate lawmakers on the gains and the work left to be done—such as we are doing this week on December 2 in Washington, DC, at our event, Getting to an AIDS-Free Generation: Overcoming Remaining Challenges.

At the upcoming 17th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), from December 7–11 in Cape Town, South Africa, we will continue highlighting the importance of addressing the epidemic, through capacity building and working in partnerships.

Getting to zero is only possible through:

  • building strong health systems
  • responding to the evolution of the epidemic
  • building local capacity

In honor of World AIDS Day and its theme of HIV and adolescents, the makers of Inside Storyhave made the film available to watch online for free on their website, starting December 1. Inside Story is a powerful film about an HIV-infected soccer player in South Africa (and a film for which I was honored to serve as technical director). Please join us in viewing the film and sharing it with others.