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[afro-nets] 2nd African Conference on Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research

2nd African Conference on Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research
9 - 12 May, 2004
Cape Town International Conference Centre
South Africa
Conference Theme:
"Social Aspects of Access to Care and Treatment"
A Unique Opportunity for African Stakeholders to Discuss Emer-
gent Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research
Organised by Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
South Africa
Social Aspects of Aids Research Alliance (SAHARA)
The conference will bring together stakeholders interested in 
the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research in Africa. The confer-
ence is expected to be all embracing of all institutions, net-
works and alliances and would be widely disseminated through 
AFRO-NETS, AFAIDS and other dissemination channels. All inter-
ested stakeholders are urged to distribute the announcement of 
this meeting. The outcome of the African Conference should be of 
specific interest to researchers and policymakers who would like 
to promote SAHARA within the New Partnership for African Devel-
opment (NEPAD).
The Human Sciences Research Council is establishing an alliance 
of partners to conduct, support and use social sciences research 
to prevent further spread of HIV and mitigate the impact of its 
devastation on South Africa, the SADC region and sub-Saharan Af-
rica. This Social Aspects of AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA) is 
a vehicle for facilitating the sharing of research expertise, 
sharing knowledge, conducting multi-site and multi-country re-
search projects that are exploratory, cross-sectional, compara-
tive or intervention-based with the explicit aim of generating 
new social science evidence for prevention, care and impact 
mitigation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on individuals, families and 
communities. This is to be done within the social development 
framework that takes into account the cultural environment 
within which human and social behaviour, and relevant programmes 
We are beginning to bring key partners in the region, including 
policy makers, programme planners, researchers in universities 
and fellow science councils (notably the Medical Research Coun-
cil in South Africa), NGO's, community groups, donors and multi-
lateral agencies to participate in a flexible alliance for so-
cial aspects of AIDS research, each contributing on the basis of 
its comparative advantage. We are building on existing initia-
tives (SAHARA West Africa, and SAHARA East & Central Africa) and 
starting new ones where necessary. We have already secured fund-
ing to undertake some of the activities. We now need to extend
this further into South Africa, the SADC and other regions of 
Africa in line with the imperatives and challenges presented by 
the African Union (AU)'s New Partnership for African Development 
The African Conference will be a vehicle to improve the effec-
tiveness of the SAHARA and to integrate its activities more 
closely with those of other organizations and individuals active 
in HIV and AIDS control within the African continent, through 
sharing information on progress and experience on social aspects 
of HIV/AIDS research. This is particularly so in view of the in-
crease in overall activity anticipated following the recent es-
tablishment of the Global Fund against Aids, Tuberculosis and 
Malaria and other international initiatives to mitigate the 
problem of HIV/AIDS particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. It will 
identify the barriers to interaction between researchers and de-
cision makers in government ministries so as to enhance the im-
pact of research on effective programmes to reduce the spread of 
HIV/AIDS in Africa. The conference will be a unique opportunity 
for African researchers to make inputs to a continent wide re-
search alliance on social aspects of HIV/AIDS.
Indeed, the preliminary results that are available from differ-
ent research sites in Africa may be especially valuable to in-
form the development of appropriate and comprehensive locally 
initiated HIV and AIDS control strategies. Leading researchers 
and policy makers, representatives of UN agencies, non-
governmental health and development organizations will be in-
vited to participate, offer their perspectives, and government 
officials to provide insights into the decision-making proc-
Thematic keynote presentations will be from outstanding re-
searchers from the Africa region. They will be challenged to 
link research to a practical action agenda for HIV/AIDS preven-
tion strategies that involve local communities and people living 
with AIDS or are affected by it.
The proposed nine thematic tracts of the conference are:
1. Nutrition and food security
2. Policies of access to care
3. Stigma in relation to care
4. Cultural and communal mobilization
5. Human Rights - legal and Customary Law issues related to care
6. Drug and trade related issues
7. The financing of AIDS
8. Orphans and vulnerable children
9. HIV surveillance
Participants will be challenged to examine specific operational 
research questions such as whether urban-based or rural-based 
programmes are more effective in reducing HIV infection in rural 
areas and what are the information gaps. Can bar-based and work-
place peer education and condom distribution activities reduce 
the high HIV infection rates seen in young women? What are the 
implications of condoms for family planning in the era of 
HIV/AIDS? Do school education or membership of community groups 
help young women to avoid HIV? Do paternal and maternal orphan 
hood harm the educational opportunities of boys and girls? How 
effective are HIV intervention programmes in reaching marginal-
ized groups such as disabled persons and street kids?
Papers accepted for presentation will be considered and pub-
lished in the Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research 
that is being published with support of SAHARA. This should 
serve as a catalyst for broader discussion of an action agenda 
by SAHARA for promoting HIV/AIDS research issues that concern 
the African continent. Specific follow-up implementation activi-
ties for turning words into action will be proposed and to bring 
together African researchers, policymakers and programme plan-
ners to forge continent wide-alliances and with donors and col-
laborating partners in the north to facilitate HIV/AIDS social 
research that is effective and can lead to measurable interven-
About 300 participants are expected to attend the Conference, 
from research institutions, national and international organiza-
tions, NGOs, and donor agencies. To ensure that the conference 
offers an African perspective, we have encouraged the regional 
SAHARA centers in Africa to forward prospective names from their 
respective regions to the conference. We envisage a geographical 
breakdown as follows:
Central Africa: 9 Speakers, 41 delegates
East Africa: 9 Speakers, 41 delegates
West Africa: 9 Speakers, 41 delegates
Southern Africa: 9 Speakers, 141 delegates (41 from neighbouring 
SADC countries and 100 from South Africa)
English and French are the official languages of the Conference.
There will be skills workshops and community outreach trips of-
fered on all the full days of the Conference and will occur from 
13:00 until 17:00 daily.
The theme of the Conference is Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Re-
search: Promoting an African Alliance to Mitigate the Effects of 
HIV/AIDS on a Sustainable Basis. 
Authors are invited to present abstracts of papers/posters that 
address the theme of the Conference to link behavioural and so-
cial aspects of HIV/AIDS research and interventions in African 
* To brief researchers, policy and decision makers, donors and 
other interested stakeholders about the work of the Social As-
pects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA) advised by a refer-
ence group of key stakeholders from relevant sectors. 
* To share emerging results from research sites in Africa on the 
social aspects of HIV/AIDS research including scientific evalua-
tion of HIV/STD prevention activities and lessons learnt in the 
course of implementing programme activities. 
* To strengthen linkages, collaboration, and coordination of SA-
HARA, in order to make it an effective broad-based research net-
work, and a flexible alliance of research partners committed to 
conducting or supporting quality research necessary for urgent 
policy planning and implementation. 
* To issue policy briefs on all the thematic tracts to policy 
makers, government representatives and inter-governmental bod-
The themes of the Conference will be discussed through keynote 
commissioned papers, plenary sessions, panel discussions, and 
* Keynote Commissioned papers on thematic and substantive issues 
  on Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS in Africa. 
* Plenary sessions: These will include selected scientific re-
  ports from researchers and other stakeholders responding to call 
  for papers for the Conference. 
* Workshops on Electronic Networking in Africa and links to pro-
  jects on research databases such as SHARED, AFRO-NETS and AFRO-
* Constituency meetings of agencies such as SAHARA Reference 
  Group etc.
* Scientific exhibitions by invitation only. 
* An editorial structure for the abstracts will be established 
  so that at the end of the conference, policy briefs are issued 
  on all the thematic tracts.
Abstract submission for papers and workshops
Deadline for abstract submission is: 20 March 2004
Communication about acceptance of abstracts: 31 March 2004
Format of abstract is: 300 words, Background, Method, Results 
and Conclusion.
Submit abstracts to: 
Prof Karl Peltzer
Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS & Health
Human Sciences Research Council
Private Bag X9182, Cape Town 8000
South Africa
Tel: +27-21-467-4472
Fax: +27-21-461-2696 or 461-0299
Conference chair, information and organization:
Dr Olive Shisana
Executive Director
Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS & Health
Human Sciences Research Council
Private Bag X9182, Cape Town 8000
South Africa
Tel: +27-12-302-2860
Lisa Lamour
Administrative Assistant: Prof. Karl Peltzer & Prof. John Seager
Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS & Health
Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Tel: +27-21-467-4472
Fax: +27-21-461-0299

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