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Friday, 18 May 2018 08:17

Sharing results with SADC

by Josee Koch

As EHPSA studies are drawing to a close we are continually searching for fora to present study findings to stakeholders who may make good use of them. The SADC stock-taking meeting in Johannesburg in April, presented a unique opportunity. The meeting brought together all ministers of health and NAC Directors from the 15 SADC countries to discuss progress made towards reaching HIV prevention targets - the 100-day action plans - which are part of the Revitalise HIV Prevention drive.

The UNAIDS goal of cutting new infections by 75 per cent will require a focus on HIV prevention, combined with scaled-up HIV testing and treatment. EHPSA has a research portfolio that contributes evidence to support the “how to” questions related to this target.

 

EHPSA research supports the efforts to reach adolescent girls, and to increase the availability and uptake of prevention technologies and understand how to tackle high STI incidence amongst MSM.

Countries in the SADC region have developed100-day plans for immediate action. The plans include national targets, national prevention programmes, and remedial action necessary to meet them. The meeting in Johannesburg was aimed at reviewing the progress made with the 100-day action plans and adjusting the course of the plans if necessary. What a beautiful opportunity to EHPSA to present evidence on different options to adjust the 100-day plans.

EHPSA worked together with UNAIDS and the SADC secretariat to organise a day of evidence dissemination ahead of the ministerial meeting, specifically designed for the NAC Directors and their heads of prevention. A powerful portfolio of studies represented EHPSA, including:

  • The Mzantsi Wakho team: findings on their research on adherence and HIV positive adolescents:
  • Anza Mapema: findings and inter-linkages between STIs and the HIV prevention agenda and the implications of STIs as entry point for better MSM service delivery to prevent HIV infection.
  • The Human Sciences Research Council: findings of the critical review on the status of MSM service delivery in the region, highlighting the pockets of promising practice and progress, despite adverse legal contexts.
  • The P-ART-Y team: findings from the Pop-Art for Youth trial, linking to the 90-90-90 discourse with an HIV prevention lens.

The meeting provided EHPSA and EHPSA’s studies with an excellent opportunity to reach regional policy makers and create momentum for key HIV prevention messages to be carried forward, thus contributing to sustainable research impact. EHPSA’s studies were well received by the audience and it was extremely encouraging to see participants engaged in the discussion, asking questions, interested in the evidence, taking notes, jotting down statistics and taking photos of PowerPoint slides.

The evidence dissemination day closed with a clear call to researchers to present their finding in plain language summaries and provide evidence briefs with the main messages for HIV prevention programmes and policies. EHPSA will produce these knowledge products over the next weeks and months and we look forward to their use in the next generation of 100-day action plans, infused with EHPSA evidence.

 

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