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Group to hold biomedical HIV prevention forum in Nov.

04 October 2013, 18:45

Abuja - The Coordinator of the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society, Dr Morenike Ukpong, on Friday said the organisation would host a biomedical HIV prevention forum next month.

Ukpong told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the forum would create a platform for intellectual discussion and sharing of perspectives.

"The 2013 Biomedical HIV Prevention Forum (BHPF) is the first in a series of conferences on biomedical HIV Prevention research and development to be held in Africa.

"It promises to be an exciting and memorable experience. It shall serve as a forum for HIV prevention researchers, programme managers, policy makers and stakeholders in and around Africa.

 "Participants will meet and discuss with regional and international researchers on investments in research and some recent ground breaking findings in the field.’’

According to her, the forum will provide a platform for intellectual discussions and sharing of perspectives among  stakeholders in the field, which can influence HIV prevention research and development in Africa.

Ukpong said the forum would help in identifying research gaps that could feed into the biomedical HIV prevention agenda as well as identify how best to translate research findings into policies and programmes.

"Evidences from results of HIV prevention trials between 2010 and 2012 point to the blurring of the divide between AIDS treatment and HIV prevention.

"Treatment is as good a prevention measure as prevention is a tool for HIV treatment.

"Within this evolving trend is the growing interest in pursuing a cure for HIV, something not dreamt about years before now.''

According to Ukpong, while the world drives the HIV cure agenda, many countries in Africa, Nigeria inclusive, lag behind in addressing the HIV epidemic.

She said that access to HIV prevention and treatment tools remained challenging as well as the fight to eliminate mother-to-child transmission.

"There is the need to sustain discussions on best practices and lessons learnt from behavioural change communication (BCC), prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) as HIV prevention tool.

"This forum will  help stakeholders evaluate successes, gaps and identify ways for sustainable and integrated country led HIV prevention response.’’

Ukpong said the forum would also serve as a discussion platform for stakeholders engaged in HIV prevention and control programmes.

She said that synthesis of HIV prevention issues to be discussed at the forum would inform policy formulation, policy review and programme implementation.

NAN reports that members of the conference secretariat include New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society, World AIDS Campaign, Institute of Public Health and National Agency for the Control of AIDS.



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