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Getting to zero the biomedical way in Africa: outcomes of deliberation at the 2013 Biomedical HIV Prevention Forum in Abuja, Nigeria

Over the last few decades, biomedical HIV prevention research had engaged multiple African stakeholders. There have however been few platforms to enable regional stakeholders to engage with one another. In partnership with the World AIDS Campaign International, the Institute of Public Health of Obafemi Awolowo University, and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS in Nigeria, the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society hosted a forum on biomedical HIV prevention research in Africa. Stakeholders’ present explored evidences related to biomedical HIV prevention research and development in Africa, and made recommendations to inform policy, guidelines and future research agenda.

Discussion

The BHPF hosted 342 participants. Topics discussed included the use of antiretrovirals for HIV prevention, considerations for biomedical HIV prevention among key populations; HIV vaccine development; HIV cure; community and civil society engagement; and ethical considerations in implementation of biomedical HIV prevention research. Participants identified challenges for implementation of proven efficacious interventions and discovery of other new prevention options for Africa. Concerns raised included limited funding by African governments, lack of cohesive advocacy and policy agenda for biomedical HIV prevention research and development by Africa, varied ethical practices, and limited support to communities’ capacity to actively engaged with clinical trial conducts. Participants recommended that the African Government implement the Abuja +12 declaration; the civil society build stronger partnerships with diverse stakeholders, and develop a coherent advocacy agenda that also enhances community research literacy; and researchers and sponsors of trials on the African continent establish a process for determining appropriate standards for trial conduct on the continent.

Conclusion

By highlighting key considerations for biomedical HIV prevention research and development in Africa, the forum has helped identify key advocacy issues that Civil Society can expend efforts on so as to strengthen support for future biomedical HIV prevention research on the continent.

Rosemary Mburu is the Executive Director of WACI Health, which hosts the Africa Civil Society Platform on Health (CiSPHA) and GFAN Africa hub. WACI Health is an ACTION partner, a global health advocacy partnership.


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