2016 International AIDS Conference (IAC)

This week, Advocates for Youth joins over 12,000 delegates from 180 countries around the world, in Durban, South Africa for the 2016 International AIDS Conference (IAC), as well as the youth-centered pre-conference, hosted by YouthForce.

AIDS 2016, as the IAC is referred, is organized around the theme “Access Equity Rights – Now,” and is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policymakers, persons living with HIV, and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic.

This is the second time that South Africa will host the largest global health gathering, which brings together the international AIDS community for a robust week of knowledge sharing, policy dialogues and medical breakthroughs. Since 2000, when Durban last held hosted IAC, South Africa has become a leader in the fight against AIDS. In 2004, the country recorded 540,000 new HIV infections; in 2012 that figure had dropped dramatically to 370,000, with some 2.2 million people accessing HIV treatment — making it the largest HIV treatment program in the world.


This year’s theme “Access Equity Rights – Now,” was developed in alignment with South Africa’s view that inclusive health care is a constitutional right. The theme is a call to action to reach the millions of people still lacking comprehensive treatment, prevention, care and support. The theme also seeks to highlight the work needed to overcome injustices caused by the exclusion of people on the basis of gender, class, race, nationality, age, geographic location, sexual orientation and HIV status.

With two million new infections globally a year, accelerated action and increased investment are needed to reach the UNAIDS goal of ending the epidemic by 2030. This year’s conference provides an opportunity for leaders in the field of science, medicine and advocacy to discuss how to keep the global response on track. Key conference topics will include an overview of the state of the pandemic; implications of gender on the response; protecting human rights and reducing stigma; and barriers to a cure.

Advocates for Youth will be actively engaged throughout the week at AIDS 2016, working in partnership with other civil society organizations to advocate for bold commitments that will propel us forward to end AIDS and not undermine the remarkable progress that many have worked so hard to achieve. Our priorities include:

  • Prioritize adolescents and young people in the HIV response by championing ambitious treatment and prevention targets;
  • Focus on the needs of young people within vulnerable populations, including sex workers and men who have sex with men;
  • Recognize the need for evidence and rights-based programming, which engages young people and is tailored to local needs, including comprehensive sexuality education and access to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services, including condoms;
  • Address laws and policies that hamper adolescents and young people’s access to prevention and treatment, commodities, and services, including criminalization of same-sex conduct, restrictive policies regarding age of consent, and parental consent laws.

On July 16th & 17th, you can find us at Durban YouthForce, a coalition of organizations working to prioritize youth HIV/AIDS issues and foster youth leadership at the International AIDS Conference. The YouthForce is hosting a two day youth pre-conference that aims to equip young delegates with technical information, skills-building, and conference orientation to support their meaningful participation at the conference and foster networking opportunities prior to AIDS 2016.

Advocates is also proud to host alongside our partners in the Youth Health & Rights Coalition two sessions at AIDS2016:

  • Forging New Alliances for HIV Prevention for Adolescent Girls and Young Women: An Intergenerational Dialogue with Policymakers | Tuesday, July 19th from 14:30-15:30 in the Youth Pavilion
  • Policy Barriers to HIV/AIDS and SRHR Access for Youth: Perspectives and Solutions from Young Leaders: Date and time to be confirmed.

Wanna follow the Action?

Follow all the conference action and share your thoughts with Advocates (@AmplifyTweets) throughout the week via Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to use #AIDS2016 to follow the conference.