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SADC Regional Consultative Meeting to strengthen HIV and SRH programming for key and vulnerable populations in the context of COVID-19 in the SADC region was held virtually from 14th to 16th September 2020. The theme of the meeting was ‘ Stocktaking of HIV response in SADC region and protecting the HIV gains in the COVID-19 era. The conference was held in collaboration with UNAIDS and UNFPA. Seychelles participated with a 24 men/women strong delegation. In Seychelles, NAC was the organizing body in Seychelles and selected the Eden Blue Hotel for the conference. The venue had all the required facilities.

The reason why such a conference was called was that there was concern by the three organizing partners due to the fact that the Southern African Development Community remains the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic. More than 17 million PLHIV in 2019 or 44% of the HIV global population.

Like the rest of the world, SADC member states have been confronted by the by the unprecedented epidemic of COVID-19. By august 2020 all countries in the region had reported at least one case of the virus.

The objectives of the meeting were:

  1. To receive an update on the state of HIV in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in the SADC region;
  2. To discuss the implications of COVID-19 to sustaining HIV responsein the SADc region
  3. To propose actions to accelerate HIV prevention in light of the COVID-19 disruption and drafting a roadmap.
  4. To agree on agenda items for discussion at the ministers’ meeting.

Each member state had to draw a roadmap to achieve its objective. The Seychelles’ indicated all its barriers and made proposals to reach the targets.

The strategies to overcome barriers and accelerate reduction of new HIV infections during this period of COVID-19 were clearly stated after very fruitful discussions among its delegates.

Barriers to implementation / increasing the pace of reduction of new HIV infections?

  1. Inadequate & insufficient access to quality HIV prevention and treatment services/programmes
  2. High levels of stigma and institutionalized discrimination
  3. Lack of Human rights approach in services
  4. Gender inequity and inequality
  5. Poor resource management and mobilization