South Africa and Cape Town in the HIV response
Few countries have faced such monumental HIV-related challenges or made such significant strides against its epidemics as our HIVR4P 2020 host, the Republic of South Africa. According to UNAIDS, South Africa has the world’s largest HIV epidemic and was home to 7.7 million people living with HIV in 2018. The country also hosts the world’s largest ART programme. Nearly two-thirds of the adults and children living with HIV in South Africa are receiving antiretroviral treatment and 87% of people living with HIV are aware of their status.
South Africa has also been a global leader in HIV prevention research. The first country in sub-Saharan Africa to fully approve PrEP, South Africa has hosted countless biomedical HIV prevention studies, including the current Uhambo and Imbokodo Phase IIb vaccine studies.
Our conference host city, Cape Town, recently set a record, with just over one million of its four million residents being tested for HIV at city clinics within a year, an accomplishment credited to close partnerships between the city’s public sector and NGOs. Along with noteworthy successes, however, South Africans also readily acknowledge the significant challenges ahead in the country’s HIV response, including the ongoing need to improve HIV education across the country, ensure access to prevention and treatment for key populations, improve rates of treatment adherence, and reduce high levels of HIV and TB co-infection.
We expect strong participation by South African researchers, officials and civil society at HIVR4P 2020. We look forward to working with colleagues and to greeting prevention researchers and advocates from around the world when we meet in Cape Town on 11-15 October 2020.