Breakthrough Ethiopia meeting sets stage for combatting HIV

After almost a year in the making, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Ethiopia – in coordination with multiple federal agencies and the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Alliance – held the first-ever HIV/AIDS High-level Stakeholders Meeting, showing nationwide solidarity in “Accelerating Momentum towards HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care.”

The meeting in Addis Ababa on Oct. 5 drew 190 of the country’s most prominent HIV advocates and organizations—from the Ministry of Health, international nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and CSO delegates—to members of Parliament, celebrities and media groups.

“The meeting is the result of a team effort lasting over 10 months and AHF is very proud to have played a role in making this happen,” said AHF Ethiopia Prevention Program Manager Henok Melesse. “We are confident that with the continued efforts of the government agencies, CSO Alliance and all our partners working together, we will see the end of HIV in Ethiopia.”

Even though there have been successful measures implemented to combat HIV in the second-most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa, officials are worried a recent rise in infections could lead to a future, more devastating wave of the epidemic.

“We have become satisfied with prior results and complacent with our past work against HIV,” said State Minister of Health Dr. Kebede Worku. “In addition to increased efforts at the government levels, HIV remains a threat to our communities. Everyone, especially media, has a duty to keep this issue high on the public agenda.”

The key note address was given by UNAIDS Ethiopia Country Director Miriam Maluwa where she praised the efforts to unify the country’s response and planned to share the inputs at the Global HIV Prevention Coalition meeting in Geneva later in the year.

AHF Ethiopia currently provides care for 3,618 patients.