By Tendai Guvamombe

In a press release, the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) on Wednesday 18 October appealed to all stakeholders to follow closely the unfolding preparations of ICASA 2023 and to lend their support to Zimbabwe, so that ICASA 2023 reflects lessons learnt that will further the new direction of the SDGs strategies to move Africa towards strengthening our health systems, and the elimination of HIV, TB and Malaria.

“The right to host the 22nd edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa was conferred to Zimbabwe under the effective leadership of His Excellency, Dr E. D. Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe at the state house”.

“This is the second time Zimbabwe is hosting ICASA. As previous hosts of ICASA 2015 held in Harare, Zimbabwe convened over 5400 delegates. Zimbabwe’s selection was a result of a rigorous evaluation process of two pre-selected countries out of five country bids”, SAA said.“With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Honorable Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, General (Rtd) Dr. C.D.G. N. Chiwenga, representing the Government of Zimbabwe and the Society for AIDS in Africa, represented by Hon. Senator. Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa, SAA President and ICASA 2023 President, the Society for AIDs in Africa has the pleasure to officially declare Zimbabwe as the next host country of 22nd edition of ICASA, ICASA 2023”, SAA added.

SAA also said it is conscious of the momentous task ahead in preparing towards a successful ICASA 2023.

“We are confident that the Government of Zimbabwe with the good people of this country through ICASA 2023, will further motivate all African countries, and the International community to devote more attention and commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other emerging viral infections and diseases in Africa towards the end of AIDS by 2030”, SAA added.

SAA was established in Kinshasa in October 1990 during the 4th International Conference on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa, a precursor to the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA).The formation of the Society for AIDS in Africa, which was facilitated by the (W.H.O) to encourage the African continent to host international conferences on HIV/AIDS, a disease whose scourge had the hardest impact on the continent.

This move encouraged and empowered Africans to directly address and respond to the challenges posed by the HIV and AIDS pandemic on the continent.Since its inception, SAA has successfully organized 21 International Conferences on HIV /AIDS and STIs in 19 African countries.

The 21st edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa was held in Durban- South Africa, under the theme ‘’AFRICA’S AIDS RESPONSE: THE RACE TO 2030 – EVIDENCE. SCALE UP. ACCELERATE’’.This was the first time in its history that the conference was held virtually. Over 4025 delegates from 83 countries across Africa and other regions of the world participated virtually.