Calls for improved access to healthcare at AIDS 2016

The 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) taking place in Durban, South Africa ends on Friday, July 22.

The conference, being held under the theme  “Access Equity Rights Now”, is discussing ways to extend access to comprehensive treatment, prevention, care and support services.

The International AIDS Society (IAS) claims efforts to stem the spread of AIDS worldwide are woefully inadequate in nature.

“More than 60% of people living with HIV remain without antiretroviral therapy; women and girls, men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, young people, and people who use drugs and other marginalised groups remain under-prioritised in the response; investments in HIV prevention research appear to have flattened; and widespread violations of human rights including criminalisation continue to undermine effective responses.”

Oscar-winning South African actress, Charlize Theron, founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project and United Nations Messenger of Peace, broke ranks with many of the 18 000 global leaders, scientists, advocates and frontline health workers gathered in Durban, as she delivered a scathing assessment of the fight against AIDS.

“We value men more than women, straight love more than gay love, white skin more than black skin, the rich, more than the poor and adults more than adolescents,” she said.

Other notable speakers at the conference included Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa, Prince Harry, patron of children’s HIV/AIDS charity, Sentebale, Sir Elton John, patron of the Elton John Foundation, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Nkhensani Mavasa, Chairperson of South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign.