Kenya has been nominated to host the next International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) which will take place in 2025.
It will be after Zimbabwe which will host the meeting in 2023.
This announcement follows an assessment visit by the Society for the Fight against AIDS in Africa (SAA) in September 2022.
“Considering that during the evaluation, Kenya was going through a period of transition, the SAA Board of Directors decided to allow Kenya to be the host country of ICASA 2025,” said Luc Armand Bodea, Director of ICASA and coordinator of SAA.
ICASA takes place in Africa every two years to catalyze African leadership and ownership, as well as investments to support the continental response to HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), associated comorbidities and other emerging health issues.
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to bear the highest burden of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
ICASA brings together nearly 15,000 delegates, including government delegations, civil society organizations and the private sector.
Adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24, who make up only 10% of the region’s population, account for one in four new HIV infections.
At the end of 2021, AIDS was still the leading cause of death in Africa.
SAA officials will travel to Kenya in early 2023 to meet with senior government leaders, where they expect the country to sign the ICASA 2025 Host Country Agreement.
SAA assured Kenya of continued partnerships to drive progress in the HIV response.
“….we will continue to work with Kenya towards our common goals – to build a continent free of AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), Malaria and emerging infections. We want to build empowered communities free of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and key populations, where there is social justice and equity in accessing care and support,” Bodea added.
Hosting the ICASA conference will set the tone for Kenya to contribute to the global discourse on sustaining HIV treatment and prevention programs in resource-limited settings.
Kenya has the second largest HIV treatment program in Africa with 1.2 million people on ARVs.
The country has explored local manufacturing options as external funding sources continue to dwindle.
Kenya needs about 25.4 billion shillings a year to maintain a healthy supply chain for HIV treatment and prevention commodities.
President Ruto, through the Kenya Kwanza Manifesto, has prioritized equitable access to healthcare services with emphasis on financing, commodity supply, information and technology health and human resources.
In his inaugural address, the president pledged to increase funding on conditions such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, family planning, immunization and nutrition.