"We welcome that commitment, but we say that that commitment, at this point, is a commitment that is easy to make on platforms at Aids conferences like this with the newspapers and the radios and the TVs looking at you. We will only believe it when we start to see that commitment start to be translated into action – into real change. And it is that change that we will measure this commitment by." - Mark Heywood, TAC
The 21st International AIDS Conference 2016 kicked off in Durban this past Sunday. The Daily Vox Team, in partnership with UNICEF, was there from day one, and has all you need to know about what went down at the world's biggest health conference.
Lizeka Maduna asked volunteers from all over the world why they were at the conference, and found some woke young folks who were there to learn and to teach.
Transgender people are some of the most marginalised in society, and it's even worse when they are sex workers. Leigh Davids told Mbali Phala her story and why she fights for the rights of sex workers, while Ayanda Denge explained to Lizeka Maduna the triple threat that transgender sex workers face due to their gender, their work and their HIV status. Zana Chetty also explained to Lizeka the harrowing experiences she's faced purely because she's been identified as different.
According to UNICEF, the number of AIDS-related deaths among adolescents 15-19 years has more than doubled since 2000. Mbali Phala wrote that urgent interventions are needed to curb and prevent HIV infections in children and adolescents.
Not everyone was at the conference to celebrate the successes of the global fight against AIDS. Protestors from civil society organisations took to the streets to highlight the fact that millions of people are still without HIV treatment, while others marched to the Indian consulate demanding they reverse their decision to close down industries that manufacture affordable generic medicines for AIDS treatment.
In a special #AIDS2016 editorial,The Daily Vox Team agreed that while great progress has been made in getting people on antiretroviral treatment, it's still unacceptable that 18 people die of AIDS every hour in South Africa.
Durbanite, Jenny Boyce, is one of the success stories of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's ARV programme. She told Lizeka Maduna how the treatment helped her to live her dreams and raise her children.