MSH at the South African AIDS Conference: Hope, Camaraderie, Unity

MSH at the South African AIDS Conference: Hope, Camaraderie, Unity

{Photo credit: Susana Galdos/MSH, South Africa}Photo credit: Susana Galdos/MSH, South Africa

Just a few months ago, the province of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, captured the world’s attention for unfortunate reasons: xenophobic attacks on foreign African nationals. This week, from June 9 to 12 in Durban, the same province is hosting the 7th South African AIDS conference, a gathering expected to bring together thousands of activists from within the country, the Southern African region and, indeed, the rest of the continent and the world, to “reflect, refocus, and renew” efforts in response to HIV and AIDS.

Nine MSH staffers from the Southern Africa region, including representatives from two USAID-funded, MSH-led projects, Building Local Capacity (BLC) for Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa Project and Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, are participating in the conference by hosting an exhibition booth () and presenting four posters and one oral presentation.

Driven by our mission to save lives and improve the health of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people by closing the gap between knowledge and action in public health, our efforts are fuelled by MSH’s core values that building local capacity and leadership, and working shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners, can ensure lasting health impact.

As MSH staff based in Southern Africa, we are mindful of the need to move forward, embrace one another, and reflect on the achievements and challenges of the recent past in response to HIV and AIDS. We use these reflections to scan the environment and refocus on the best strategies, including new innovations, to defeat AIDS with renewed energy.

I’m looking forward to the gathering for hope, camaraderie, and unity: Hope that scientists will announce new advances in the HIV and AIDS response; united by single-minded purpose to defeat this common ‘enemy’ that transcends ethnicity, race, culture, and gender and geopolitical divides; and knowing that it is only through such camaraderie that victory is even remotely possible.

We hope to meet you at the exhibition booth () and at our oral and poster presentations. Follow our updates from the conference on Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Regional Exchange (SHARE) and on Twitter with hashtag .

A version of this post originally appeared on SHARE.