Early Treatment to improve individual health and prevent HIV transmission

Treatment as Prevention (TasP) can be defined as using anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to improve individual health and to prevent HIV transmission. A growing body of research demonstrates that by encouraging people to start ART early, the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV improves and the number of new HIV infections is reduced. Definitive evidence on TasP comes from a multi-country randomized control study (HPTN 052 study) that resulted in dramatically reduced HIV transmission (96.3%) amongst discordant couples, as well as reduced morbidity and mortality (30%) in the early treatment group.

STOP AIDS NOW! is working together with partners to improve access to, and uptake of, HIV testing and treatment in Swaziland: MaxART: Maximizing ART for Better Health and Zero New HIV Infections. This initiative will set the stage for a demonstration project to put into practice the exciting new evidence that treatment can also serve as a means of prevention. Read more >>

What's new

The 17th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) will be held in South Africa from 7-11 December 2013, preceded by the ICASA Youth Pre-Conference. STOP AIDS NOW! will be present in Cape Town and participates in both events. Find here an overview of our activities.

World AIDS Day campaign: treatment for children living with HIV
STOP AIDS NOW! campaigns for successful and sustainable treatment of children with HIV. Worldwide, 3.3 million children are living with HIV. Only 34% of the children living with HIV who need treatment do actually receive this. Without treatment, half of all the children with HIV die before the age of two.

STOP AIDS NOW! and partners have developed a project 'To an AIDS-free generation: treatment for all children living with HIV in Uganda'. We strive to make treatment possible for thousands of children living with HIV, among others by identifying children living with HIV, by increased testing, raising awareness, reducing the stigma, and addressing the challenges related to retention of children in HIV care.
The funds for this project are raised through a TV production in the Netherlands in which children are playing the lead role. On 1 December, a campaign event takes place in Amsterdam, reminding the Dutch people of all children living with HIV that have died needlessly since the start of the epidemic. In doing so, we call for action to get all children with HIV on the treatment they need.

Community Guide on the Use of Antiretrovirals for Treatment and Prevention
Community leadership in accelerated treatment programming is critical to achieving the three Zero’s: to end new infections, end AIDS-related deaths, and stop stigma and discrimination. STOP AIDS NOW!, GNP+, and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance are working together to develop a Community Guide on the Use of Antiretrovirals for Treatment and Prevention, in order to facilitate discussion among communities and the wider civil society and support their meaningful engagement in decision-making on and implementation of the guidelines. The Community Guide addresses the recommendations from the 2013 World Health Organization’s Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection

Discussion sessions on the 2013 Guidelines and the Community Guide are being held during ICAAP (18-22 November) and ICASA (7-11 December). The feedback sessions focus on the concerns of people living with HIV and community-based services providers with regard to the roll-out of the new guidelines and the roles communities can play in supporting the implementation of the guidelines.  
The Community Guide will be available early 2014.

Conference: Controlling the HIV Epidemic with Antiretrovirals: From Consensus to Implementation
In September 2013, the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), in partnership with the British HIV Association, Public Health England , and UNAIDS, hosted the conference Controlling the HIV Epidemic with Antiretrovirals: From Consensus to Implementation. The latest scientific evidence on treatment as prevention was presented and participants discussed the implementation of ART for prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in a variety of clinical settings. The presentations and poster abstracts of the conference can be found here


A situational analysis on ART for Prevention in Swaziland
To inform the design of the MaxART Treatment as Prevention demonstration project the University of Amsterdam and the Swaziland National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (SWANNEPHA) executed a qualitative situational analysis on antiretroviral treatment (ART) for Prevention in Swaziland. The study examined the perspectives of healthcare providers, people living with HIV who are members of support groups, and clients recently diagnosed HIV positive on the use of ART for prevention in Swaziland. The study offers recommendations for implementing ART for prevention in the context of Swaziland. Read more >>

Swaziland is ready to start its Treatment as Prevention demonstration project
There is considerable evidence from clinical trials that Treatment as Prevention (TasP) can both improve the health of people living with HIV and dramatically reduce the rate of new HIV infections. Though, questions about the implementation still remain, it is time to put this approach into practice. The government of the Kingdom of Swaziland, within its MaxART programme, is ready to implement a Treatment as Prevention Demonstration Project to generate the evidence required to take this approach to scale, both nationally and globally. Read more >>

Meet and Greet

Sibongile Ndlela Simelane, Swaziland’s new Minister of Health
Early November 2013, Sibongile Ndlela Simelane was appointed as the new Minister of Health in Swaziland. Sibongile has previously been involved in the MaxART programme from the start, where she played a lead role in dialogues with traditional leaders and the community with SafAIDS.

“The involvement and buy-in of the leaders is crucial. Because community members rely on them we need to make sure that all leaders are empowered with the right information, and that they are involved from stage one. It will also strengthen the sustainability of our work, because traditional leaders will be there even after the project has phased out. I believe in open communication, that is needed to avoid misconceptions and misunderstanding among people working together. Dialogue is an important tool to make sure you are equal partners.”
Read the complete interview with Sibongile Simelane.

Myron Cohen, the principal researcher of the HPTN 052 randomised controlled trial which demonstrated proof-of-concept for Treatment as Prevention.
"HIV cure and vaccine research are making great progress and will inevitably lead to changes in care. The work of the HPTN 052 group has inspired more focus on early treatment. Early treatment puts people in a better position for a healthy life, or to be cured when this advance comes along, as I believe it will."
Read the complete interview with Myron Cohen


MaxART newsletter 4th edition out now!
In November, the 4th edition of the MaxART Newsletter  was released.  This edition of the newsletter focuses on Youth and you can read about MaxART support to Swaziland to overcome barriers for young people accessing services, parental or guardian consent, young people’s leadership to address HIV and much more. You can find earlier editions and subscribe to the MaxART newsletter here.  

Ahead of World AIDS Day 2013 UNAIDS reports sustained progress in the AIDS response
Latest UNAIDS estimates show remarkable progress towards the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by stopping HIV transmission and halting AIDS-related deaths. Yet significant challenges remain.

In many cases stalled progress is due to inadequate access to essential HIV services. Key populations, including men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, transgender people and sex workers, are often blocked from accessing life-saving services. More attention is also needed for children living with HIV, who continue to experience persistent treatment gaps. In 2012, 647,000 children below 15 years were receiving antiretroviral treatment. HIV treatment coverage for children (34% (31-39%)) remained half of coverage for adults 64% (61-69%)) in 2012. For more information, see The report on the global AIDS epidemic 2013 and AIDS by the numbers.

UNESCO report “Young People Today. Time to Act Now”
In October, the report “Young People Today. Time to Act Now” was launched. The report presents key data and analysis on why adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa need comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. It covers access to education, HIV knowledge, HIV and unintended pregnancy prevalence, and key gender and human rights indicators. The report also marked the launch of a campaign to urge Ministers of Health and Education to show bold leadership and commitment to scale-up the delivery of comprehensive sexuality education and SRH services for the 158 million adolescents and young people in this region.
Like the UN organisations, STOP AIDS NOW! and partners work towards quality of sexuality education and HIV prevention programmes and increased access to youth-friendly services. We are very happy to see such strong commitment to this case. 

Upcoming events

National Conference STI*HIV*Sex, 2 December 2013, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 
An overview of the best in STI and HIV response and sexual health. Inspiring speakers bring you up to date on the latest developments, trends and interventions. Expert workshop leaders bring new insights to your work. The programme is divided into three tracks: 1. Early Testing, Early Treatment, 2. Better Response to HIV and STIs in Ethnic Minorities, 3. (e-)Interventions. Find more information and an up-to-date programme on the Conference website

Global Health Conference: The Dutch Perspective, 3 December 2013, The Hague, The Netherlands
On the 3rd of December, Cordaid and STOP AIDS NOW! aim to discuss the current Dutch approach towards global health. Topics will include ODA trends, private sector involvement, and the role of civil society. Our goal is to bring these issues to the table, show the public and private sector the importance of investing and working together on global health themes, and develop policy recommendations. More details and (free) registration

ICASA Youth Pre-Conference: “Now More Than Ever – Getting to Zero: for youth, by youth, with youth”, 5-6 December 2013, Cape Town, South Africa
The Youth Pre-Conference seeks to bring 200 young people at ICASA. STOP AIDS NOW! happily supports this great initiative. Together with UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNFPA, Condomize! Campaign, and AfriCASO, we form a technical working group, supporting the Youth Programme steering committee. For more information, visit the Youth Front website and the Facebook page. Find out about STOP AIDS NOW!'s activities at the Youth Pre-Conference.

ICASA Conference, 7-11 December 2013, Cape Town, South Africa
ICASA is the key event on AIDS for the African continent. The theme of ICASA 2013 is: ’Now More Than Ever: Targeting Zero’. It highlights the need to “now more than ever” maintain the commitment to ensure irrespective access to treatment for everyone in Africa. Up to 10,000 of the world’s leading scientists, policy makers, activists, people living with HIV, government leaders will be joining the debate on how to achieve an AIDS-free Africa. Read more about the ICASA Conference 2013 >>. Learn about activities of STOP AIDS NOW! at ICASA.


STOP AIDS NOW! is a partnership between Aids Fonds, Cordaid, Hivos, ICCO and Oxfam Novib