We are delighted to announce THRU ZIM's participation in ICASA 2023, the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa. The 22nd edition of ICASA was held in Harare, Zimbabwe from December 4th to December 9th, 2023. This biennial conference serves as a crucial platform for addressing the diverse nature of the HIV epidemic in Africa and developing strategies to end AIDS by 2030. ICASA 2023 focused on the impact of COVID-19 on HIV health systems and explored innovations, partnerships, and financing for sustainable responses. The conference provided an opportunity for researchers, clinicians, governments, communities, and global leaders to share scientific advances, learn from experiences, and collaborate towards a common goal.
THRU ZIM was well represented throughout the conference, actively contributing to the discussions and knowledge exchange. Here are some highlights of our involvement:
On Monday, December 4th, we organized a workshop on STI/HIV integration at the Bronte Hotel, providing valuable insights into this critical aspect of comprehensive care. Titled "Realizing the Potential of HIV and STI Service Integration: Expert Consensus Workshop," it aimed to explore the integration of HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) services to improve efficiency and effectiveness in healthcare delivery. The workshop featured presentations on the public health threat of STIs, the case for integration in Zimbabwe, and support from organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Fund. A panel discussion featured representatives from various health agencies, discussing the future of HIV-STI integration. Group discussions focused on identifying opportunities, challenges, and practical next steps for integration.
On Tuesday, December 5th, Dr. Kevin Martin delivered a booth talk titled "Getting to Grips with STI Diagnostics in Zimbabwe" at the Cepheid booth. Wednesday, December 6th, witnessed several impactful presentations and posters. Jayjay Karumazondo presented on the "Prospective Acceptability of a Novel Vaginal Inflammation Point-of-Care Test to Identify Sexually Transmitted Infections in Zimbabwe and South Africa." Constance Mackworth-Young shared insights from the "High Acceptability of Community-Based Integrated HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Service Among Youth Clients in Zimbabwe" research poster. Salome Manyau presented on "Uptake and Acceptability Among Adolescents of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services Integrated Within an Adolescent Health Check-Up Intervention." Constance presented for a second time on "Adolescents Don't Define Themselves by Their HIV Status, Why Should We?," which emphasized the importance of focusing on young people's priorities which goes beyond the parameters of traditional public health programming.
On Thursday, December 7th, Prof. Katharina Kranzer delivered a talk on antimicrobial resistance in people living with HIV (PLWHIV). Dr. Farirai Nzvere presented a poster on the "Multimorbidity Burden Among Adolescents Living with HIV in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe," shedding light on the comprehensive care and support required for this vulnerable population. Prof. Rashida Ferrand presented on "Management of Advanced HIV Disease and Opportunistic Infections."
Finally, on Saturday, December 9th, Dr. Mandi Tembo's presentation titled "Integrating Menstrual Health and HIV Services Improves HIV Testing Among Women," presented by Constance Mackworth-Young, emphasized the positive impact of integrating menstrual health services with HIV testing, promoting holistic care for women.
THRU ZIM's active participation in ICASA 2023 demonstrates our commitment to advancing the HIV response in Zimbabwe and contributing to global efforts to end AIDS. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our expertise, learn from others, and strengthen collaborations during this significant event. We extend our appreciation to our dedicated team members, partners, and the entire THRU ZIM community for their unwavering support and commitment to our mission.